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AB. The House at the Water Gate called the Ram's Head. 

AC. The Place where the Mud Wall was, called Pike's Garden. 

AD. The City Wall at the NE. of the Nine Gardens. 

AE. The Place where the Broken Tower was. 

AF. Hog Lane End. 

AG. The House called the'Stone comer House. 
AH. The End of Tower Street. 

AL The Stairs without the East End of the Tower. 


A. The Middle Tower. 

B. The Tower at the Gate. 

C. The Bell Tower. 

D. Beauchamp Tower. 

E. Develin Tower. 

F. Fliut Tower. 

G. Bowyar Tower. 
H. Brick Tower. 
I. Martin Tower. 
K. Constable Tower. 

L. Broad Arrow Tower. 

M. Salt Tower. 

N. Well Tower. 

0, The Tower leading to the Iron Gate. 

P. The Tower above the Iron Gate, 

Q. THE Cradle Tower. 

R. . The Lanthom Tower. 

S. The Hall Tower. 

T. The Bloody Tower. 

V. St. Thomas's Tower. 

W. Ciesar's or White Tower. 

X. Cole Harbour. 

Y. Wardrobe Tower. 


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"A Jesuit in disguise" is an idea sufficiently 
familiar to the English mind. It is less current 
now than heretofore, and the reason of this is not 
far to seek. "Jesuits" — and in the term the 
popular notion included members of all Religious 
Orders, all ecclesiastics, and not a few laymen — 
Jesuits are now allowed to show themselves openly, 
and people who see them and know where they 
live and what churches they serve, have ceased to 
frighten themselves with the fear lest any stranger 
might be a Jesuit in disguise with sinister intentions. 
The traditional bugbear was foolish and exagge- 
rated, but it had its foundation in facts perverted 
Where there was little love, there was little chance 
of kind or even just interpretations ; but the fact 
was plain enough that Catholic priests and religious 
resorted to disguises of every kind. The foolishness 
of the English tradition lay in this, that it attributed 
to them a love for underhand dealing and a prefe- 
rence for concealments and subterfuges, while the 
very simple truth was that they came in disguise 
because they were not allowed to come openly. The, 
following narrative will serve to show why Jesuits 
came into England and lived there in disguise, and 
how they did it, in the days when to appear openly 

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viu Preface. 

would have cost them their lives. In it will be 
found a minute and detailed description of what 
befell priests when they were caught, and what 
manner of life they were obliged to lead in order 
that they might not be caught. The Life of Father 
John Gerard will show not only how a Jesuit went 
about England in disguise, but why. 

At Stonyhurst College there are two manu- 
scripts, one in the handwriting of Father Gerard, 
the other a copy from the original. The former, 
which is in EngUsh, is the History of the Gun- 
powder Plot, written by Father Gerard in the latter 
part of the year 1606. The latter, which is in Latin, 
is a narrative of his missionary life in England, 
compiled by Father Gerard in 1609 for the infor- 
mation of his superiors. 

The History of the Gunpowder Plot was 
published for the first time in 187 1 under the title 
The CondUim of CatholUs nnder James I. (London: 
Longman, Green and Co.). A life of Father John 
Gerard was prefixed to the work, in which consider- 
able use was made of the autobiography ; but, with 
the view of keeping the life within reasonable 
compass that it might not exceed the dimensions 
of an introduction, much was necessarily omitted 
that Father Gerard had included in his narrative, 
as well as much of the collateral information from 
other sources that would have made it more com- 
plete. A second edition in 1872 contained the 
correction of some errors. A third edition is now 
called for, and it has seemed desirable to separate 
the life of Father Gerard from his history of the 

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Preface. ix 

Powder Plot, in order that it might be possible to 
give to the life the expansion and completeness 
which its interest justifies. In this third edition it 
is accordingly rewritten. Copious additions have 
been made to the extracts as well from the 
autobiography as from documents preserved among 
the State Papers in the Public Record Office. 
For the translation of the autobiography we are 
indebted to the pen of the Reverend Father 
Kingdon S.J. Portions of it were first published 
in the Month; and these, rendered into French 
by the Reverend Father Forbes, appeared also 
in the Etudes Thiologiqtus at Paris, and have 
since been reprinted separately. A German trans- 
lation, taken from the first edition of this work, 
was published at Cologne in 1875. 

To the Reverend Dr. Jessopp the amplest 
acknowledgements and sincerest thanks are due for 
the note with which the third Chapter is enriched ; 
and for the readiness with which he has allowed his 
store of information respecting the Norfolk recu- 
sants to be drawn upon, even while his own work 
on the Walpoles had the first claim on his every 
leisure moment. That work ' has since appeared, 
and a second edition of it was immediately called 
for. It is a perfect storehouse of facts, and a 
remarkable monument of untiring personal research 
into the original documents on which Elizabethan 
History must rest 

* One Gtneraliott of a Norfolk House, by Augustus Jessopp, D.D. 
Second Edition. London : Burns and Dates, 1879. 

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X Preface. 

It is a piece of singular good fortune that we 
should have a view of the Tower of London, taken 
in the very year in which Father Gerard made his 
escape from that redoubtable stronghold, and from 
the point of view most favourable for the illustra- 
tion of that escape. The loan of the print from 
which the frontispiece is taken is due to the kind- 
ness of Mr. C. Knight Watson, Secretary of the 
Society of Antiquaries. In 1742 an illuminated 
drawing by Hayward and Gascoyne of the Tower 
of London in 1597 was lent to that Society. A 
coloured copy of the drawing is in their collection, 
and from this the engraving now reproduced was 
taken and published by the Society in its Vetusta 
Monumenta, vol. i. plate 63. An excellent copy 
on a smaller scale, engraved in 1821, was published 
in the quarto edition of Bayly's History of the 
Tower. It has been considered better to choose 
for reproduction the older print, rather than the 
more recent engraving, as well on account of its 
superior excellence, as from the fact that it is more 
ancient. In hke manner the old print of Louvain 
by Juste Lipse has been preferred to the version 
of it given by M. Van Even in his Louvain Monu- 
mental, though the latter is certainly more artistic. 
The older prints are more in keeping with the old 
documents, and may themselves be included among 
the original sources of history. The old print of 
Li^ge fortunately combines antiquity with artistic 
beauty : and it is but adding words of well-merited 
commendation to say that the manner of repro- 
duction of all these prints by the Woodbury process 
leaves nothing to be desired. 

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Preface. xi 

The Editor's warm thanks are due to many 
kind friends for much valuable help, and amongst 
them it is a pleasure to him to name Fathers 
Stanton and Knox of the London Oratory, who 
have given him access to the Archives of the See 
of Westminster, of which they are the custodians. 
The sketch of the arms and motto of the Gerard 
family, which marks the outside of the volume, the 
Editor owes to the ready and very friendly pencil 
of Mr. C. A. Buckler, Surrey Herald Extraordinary. 
J. M. 

Manresa House, Roehampton, 
yannary 6, iSSi. 

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e and exact Draught ot the Tower Liberties 

iter I. — Birth and Parentage. 1564— 1577 . . . , 

Note to Chapter I 

II, — Life before Ordinalion. 1577 — 1588 . . ■ . 

Notes to Chapter II. 

III.— Arrival in England. 1588 

Note to Chapter III. — By the Reverend Augustus 

Jessopp, D.D. 

IV. —Residence in Norfolk. 1588, 1589 . . . . 
v.— Residence in Suffolk. 1589—1591 . . . . 

VI.— The Wisemans of Braddocks 

VII.— Work in Essex. 1592 

VIII.— Eicursions 

IX.-— A Visit to Father Garnet. 1591 . . . . 

X.— Father Oldcome 

XI.— Relic 

Note to Chapter XI 

XII.— The Search at Northend. 1593 . . . . 

, XIII.— The Search at Golding-lane 

Note to Chapter XIII 

XIV,.~Search at Braddocks. 1594 

XV,— Capture. 1594 

, XVI.— The Counter. 1594 

, XVII.— The Clink. 1594-1597 

Note to Chapter XVII 

„ XVIII.— From the Clink to (he Tower, 1S9S— '597 

XIX,— Torture. 1597 

XX.— The Tower of London. 1597 

Note to Chapter XX 

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Chapter XXI.— Escape from the Towe^. i 
Note to Chapter XXI. 
„ XXII,— At large again. 15c 
.„ XXIII.— Elizabeth Vaux. 15. 
„ XXIV.— Brother John Lilly. 1599 
„ XXV.— Great Hartowden. 1598, 15 
„ XXVI.— London. 1599—1603 
„ XXVII.— Sir Oliver Manners 
„ XXVIII.— Quiet before the Storm. 1603— 
„ XXIX.— The Storm. 1605 

Note to Chapter XXIX. 
„ XXX.— Escape. 1606 
„ XXXI.— The Gunpowder Plot 

Note to Chapter XXXI. 
„ XXXIL— In England . 
„ XXXIIL— Across the Channel. 1606— 1609 
„ XXXIV.— Lou vain and Liege. 1609— 1622 
„ XXXV,— Ghent and Rome. 1623— 1637 
Alphabetical Index 


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1 56+— 1577. 
John Gerard was the second son of Sir Thomas Gerard," 
of Bryn in Lancashire, knight, and of Elizabeth, daughter 
and coheiress of Sir John Port, of Etvvall in Derbyshire, 
knight. When Father John Gerard had occasion, in his 
Narrative of the Powder Plot, to speak of his elder brother 
Thomas, who received knighthood from James I. on his 
accession, he says : 2 " That was to him no advancement 
whose ancestors had been so for sixteen or seventeen 
descents together." This Sir Thomas was made a baronet 
at the first creation of that dignity in 161 1. and from him 
the present Lord Gerard of Bryn, the first baron and 
thirteenth baronet, is lineally descended. 

John Gerard came of knightly families on his mother's 
side also, and their names show that they were of the 
races that are well known to have been faithful to the 
Catholic Church. His maternal great-grandfather J was 
John Port, Esq., v.'ho married Jane, the daughter of John 
Fitzherbert of Etwall in Derbyshire, widow of John Pole of 

■ "William Gerard, son of William who died at Etonliall in 26 Edward III. 
['352], by his marriage willi Joan, dauglitet and heiress of Sir Peter Brj-n de 
Biynhill, convertible into Sir Peter Brynhill de Bryn, became possessed of 
Bryn, Ashton, and other estates, which have remained in the Gerards of Brjn 
ever since." Baines, Hislary of Laneashire, 1S36, vol. iii. p. 637. 

= The Cottdilien ofCatkBlics under/amis I. London, 1872, p, 27. 

3 Wotton's BaronOagi, 1741, 

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2 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Radbum in the same county; whilst his grandmother, 
Lady Port, was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Gifford 
of Chillington in Staffordshire, and Dorothy his wife, 
daughter and coheiress of Sir John Montgomery. Eliza- 
beth, the mother of John Gerard, was the cldrat of the 
three daughters and coheiresses of Sir John Port, and 
at her father's death in 1557, Etwall became her property 
and marriage portion. Sir John's second daughter, 
Dorothy, took Dale Abbey in Derbyshire to her husband 
George Hastings, fourth Earl of Huntingdon ; and Margaret, 
the third daughter, by her marriage conveyed Cubley in 
the same county to Sir Thomas Stanhope, grandfather of 
the first Earl of Chesterfield. 

Father Gerard had three sisters, Mary, wife of John 
Denison; Dorothy, wife of Edmund Peckham ; and Martha, 
wife of John \or Michael] Jenison. Documents still existing 
show us that one of them at least was a zealous Catholic, 
or, as the phrase ran, "a great recusant" during the perse- 
cution. There is a report in the British Museum,' dated 
June 16, 1595, from Edward Cokayne, evidently a Derby- 
shire magistrate, of assistance given by him to a well known 
pursuivant William Newall, in searches in that county. 
The following paragraph relates to Father Gerard's third 
sister. "The third house that we searched according to 
his direction was the house of one Mr, Jenison, that 
married one of my Lady Gerard's daughters, she being 
a great recusant, and not her husband ; howsoever, it is 
reported that there is great resort of strangers, but what 
they be we cannot learn, neither at this time did we find 
any there, but pictures in the chambers according to their 
profession. Only one West, that was a messenger between 
the seminaries, was fled six weeks before we came, and 
whither he is gone as yet we cannot learn." The magistrate 
had not .seen the report of a spy, dated in the previous 
February, which doubtless was what procured for Mr. jeni- 

' llarl. MSS. 6998, r. 19;. 

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Birth and Parentage. 3 

son the honour of a visit from a Queen messenger. It has 
survived among the State Papers,' and it contains the 
following information respecting the house of Father 
Gerard's brother-in-law. "Item, at Mr. Genyson's house 
at Rowllsley, near Bakewell in the Peak, there is John 
Redford alias Tanfield, a seminary priest, who hath 
authority from the Pope to hallow all kind of church stuff, 
beads, and such like ; and there his library is to be found, 
for he studieth there ; and there also sojourn Mr. Lcntoii 
and his wife, notable recusants." It is plain that if John 
Jenison was not "a great recusant," as well as his wife, 
he would have been one if he had dared, and that he was 
what our fathers called "a schismatic," whose heart was 
with the old religion while he conformed exteriorly with 
the new. There were four sons and two daughters in 
this family, one of whom became a priest, and another 
son, if not two, entered the Society. In the next generation 
Michael Jenison, who also became a priest, claims four 
Jesuit Fathers as his paternal uncles. Amongst these he 
reckons our Father John Gerard, who was his great unclc.^ 
John Gerard was born on the 4th of October, 1564,3 
and his probable birthplace was New Uryn, the second of 
the four seats which the family has inhabited within the 
township of Ashton and parish of Winwick, in West Derby 
Hundred in Lancashire.'^ The house was so called to 
distinguish it from Old Bryn, near Bryn wood, which was 
abandoned five centuries ago. The historian of the county 
of Lancaster quotes from " Mr. Barrett in his manuscript 
collections" the following account of all that remained 
a century ago of Father Gerard's home. "Bryn Hall is 
an ancient scat of the Gcrards, and has been a good house, 

' stale Papers in llie Public Record Office, D^mcslic, Eli^bdh, vol. ccli, 
n. 14. Sec tiole at the end of this chapter. 

= Diary of the English Csllq;,; Romt, edited by Henry Foley, S.J., 
PP- 334, 375- 

' Stonylitirst MSS., Fathci- Nathaniel Southwell's Catak^us primorum 
falnim, p. 32. 

' BaincE, History of Lamashirt, vol, iii. p. 639. 

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4 Life of Father John Gerard. 

but it is now almost in ruins, the venerable ivy revelling 
without control on its mouldering walls. Within is a 
spacious courtyard, the approach to which is by means of 
a bridge over the moat which surrounds this fabric. The 
gatehouse is secured by very strong and lai^e doors. 
Within the court is what has been a rich porch, the 
entrance into a spacious room called the hall, on the 
chimney-piece of which are the arms of England in the 
reign of James I. Across one side of the hall runs a 
railed gallery, on which persons might stand to see any 
entertainment below. This gallery is supported by double 
pillars in the front of pilasters, and forming arches betwixt 
each other, under which persons may pass from one room 
to another. On these carved pillars and arches is abun- 
dance of rich carved work, but rotten with age and 
moisture. IVIost part of the wainscot has been carried to 
Garswood Hall, the present seat' of Sir Thomas Gerard, 
in 1 77 1." 

If born in this baronial house when it was at its best, 
John Gerard did not live there long enough to become 
familiar with its grandeur. From the first sentences of his 
autobiography we learn that when he was a child, his father 
lived at Etwall as long as Queen Elizabeth allowed him to 
live in a house of his own at all. " I was born," he says, 
" of Catholic parents, who ne\-er concealed their profession, 
for which they suffered many inflictions from our heretic 
rulers ; so much so that, when a child of five years of age, 
I was forced, together with my brother who was also a 
child, to dwell among heretics under the roof of a stranger, 
for that my father, with two other gentlemen, had been 
cast into the Tower of London, for having conspired to 
restore the Scottish Queen to liberty and to her kingdom. 

■ " Garswood [n-as] taken down at the beginnini; of the present cenluiy, 
[and the family removed to] the New Hall, built by the Launders about the 
year 1692, and purchased by the Geratds forty years ago." Baines wrote in 

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Birth and Parentage. 5 

She was at that time confined in the county of Derby, 
at two miles distance from our house. Three years after- 
wards my father, having obtained his release by the pay- 
ment of a large sum, brought us home, free however from 
any taint of heresy, as he had maintained a Catholic tutor 
over us." 

Sir Thomas Gerard's two friends were Sir Thomas 
Stanley and Francis Rolston, and they were committed 
to the Tower in July, 1571. ■ When this occurred, John 
Gerard was therefore nearly seven years old. In the 
examination of the Bishop of Ross in the October fol- 
lowing their committal, the only mention made of these 
three Catholic gentlemen in connection with the imprisoned 
Queen relates simply to their religion. " He saith the 
Queen of Scots told this examinatc that she had under- 
standing from Sir Thomas Stanley. Sir Thomas Geratrf 
and Rolston that they were reconciled to the Pope 
according to the late Bull, and that so were many other 
in Lancashire and the North parts."^ 

Father Gerard is wrong in placing "in the county of 
Derby " the house in which Mary Queen of Scots was then 
confined. Tutbury is in Staffordshire, but close to the 
borders of Derbyshire, and Etwall in that county. Sir 
Thomas Gerard's house, was not far off". Mary's first 
imprisonment at Tutbury, of which Father Gerard is 
speaking, was early in 1569 when he was not five years old. 
The captive Queen was confined there on that occasion 
less than three months, as she was brought from Bolton 
under the charge of the Earl of Shrewsbury and Sir Francis 
Knollys in February, and was transferred to Wingfield 
towards the end of April. When in January, 158^. Mary 
was taken back to Tutbury, she caught sight of Sir 
Thomas Gerard's house on the way. She must have 

' Bui^hley's Notes, in Murdin's ColleclioH a/ State Papers, London, 1759, 

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6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

known perfectly well that it was the house of a friend who 
had suffered greatly for her sake, and Sir Amias Poulet, 
her keeper, must have known that she knew it. There 
is therefore something amusing in the naivete yA'Co. which 
she proposed her removal to that house, and with which 
Sir Amias relates her proposal. " ' I remember,' quoth 
she, 'as I came hitherwards from Derby, I saw a fair 
house not far from hence which was said to belong to a 
knight called Gerard, and as I hear he lieth not in it,' I 
said I thought this house was too little for her use. She 
prayed mc to cause it to be seen, which I promised to do." ■ 
This occurs in a letter' to Sir Francis Walsingham, dated 
August tS, 1585 : and, further on in the same letter, 
speaking of another interview with his royal prisoner, 
Poulet says, "This Queen, having thus uttered her griefs 
and complaints with many words, asked me if I had sought 
to inform myself of the houses which she mentioned unto 
me. . . . Touching Sir Thomas Gerard's house, I told 
her that I had caused it to be viewed, and did find that the 
house is newly builded, and standeth as yet in two parts, 
and that the hall and kitchen are yet wanting which 
should tie those two parts together, besides many other 

The name of Sir Thomas Gerard and the Catholic 
character of the neighbourhood of Tutbury and Etwall 
were well known to Queen Mary's gaolers. Sir Ralph 
Sadler wrote^ to Walsingham in the previous February, 
"Surely, sir, this is a perilous country, for both men and 
women of all degrees are almost all Papists. I need not 
tell you what an obstinate Papist Langford is, and Sir 
Thomas Gerard is ill as he, which both do lurk here in 
their houses, the furthest not past four miles from this 
castle. Neither of them both, their wives nor families 

1809, vol. ii. p. 525. 

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Birth and Parentage. 7 

come to the church, nor yet have our common prayers 
or service said in their houses, but do nourish certain 
massing priests which do haunt their houses, where it is 
thought they have masses secretly, but so closely and 
cunningly used as it will be hard to take them with the 
manner. These surely be dangerous persons, if they had 
power according to their will, and therefore would be looked 
unto. I would to God there were no more in this country, 
where I hear of very few good. It seeraeth that the bishop 
of the diocese is not so diligent and careful of his charge 
as he ought to be, and therefore would be quickened and 
admonished from her Majesty to look better to his flock, 
so as they may be Induced to come to the church according 
to the law, or else that they feel the smart of the same." 

There was no need that the bishop of the diocese 
should be "quickened" to make Sir Thomas Gerard "feel 
the smart" of the law for not going to the Protestant 
church, for he was not permitted long to lurk as Sir 
Ralph Sadler called it, in his own house. On the 23rd of 
August, 1586, he was again committed' to the Tower of 
London on a charge of high treason. 

That Sir Thomas Gerard was faithful to his religion at 
the beginning of his imprisonment in the Tower, is testified 
by the following extract from a State Paper^ dated March i, 
iS8|. "Sir Thomas Jarrat [Gerard] his keeper, a very 
honest man of the lieutenant's, reported that divers of the- 
lieutenant's men who had keeping of prisoners in the Tower, 
were by persuasion and otherwise fallen from our profession 
unto Popery. And he affirmed that Sir Thomas Jarrat had 
sundry times persuaded him to convert to their profession." 

' P.R.O., Domestk, Elhahslh, vol. ccxv. n. rg. "Return of prisoners in 
the Towet," endorsed in Lord Burghley's hand, "2 Julii, 15SS" [an error for 
August]. "April I, 1585. Imprimis, the Earl of Arundel, prisoner three 
years four months. Feb. 14, 1586. Mr. Secretary Davison, prisoner one year 
six months. August 23, 1586. Sir Thomas Gerard, knight, prisoner one year 
eleven months ; indicted of treason." At the end of the list are the names of 
five priests "committed, for religion." 

° P.R.O., jOomislic, Elizabaa, vol. ccix. n. 3. 

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S Life of Father John Gerard. 

But unhappily for his fair fame, Sir Thomas seems to have 
had the weakness to appear as a witness against his noble 
and saintly fellow-prisoner, Philip Howard, Earl of 
Arundel. In the contemporary life of the Earl, published 
by the late Duke of Norfolk, it is said ; " "At the Earl's 
arraignment both Sir Thomas Gerard and Mr. Bennet^ were 
brought in person to give witness against him ; the one 
that he required a Mass of the Holy Ghost to be said for 
the success of the Spaniards ; the other, that the prayer of 
twenty-four hours was directed to the same end." Of 
these two witnesses the writer of the life further says : 
"Mr. Bennet, the priest, one of those who had accused 
him, fell not long after into a grievous disease, whereof he 
also died miserably, with great remorse and grief for what 
he had done. And Sir Thomas Gerard, who was the other, 
never prospered after that time, but sold and wasted a 
great part of his estate, lived a lewd licentious life, fell 
from the profession of the Catholic faith, and so continued 
till about a year before his death." That death occurred 
in September, 1601. 

His fall from the Catholic faith was evidently gradual, 
for in the year 1 590, in " A view of the state of the County 
Palatine of Lancaster both for religion and civil govern- 
ment,"3 we have a list of " Knights and Esquires not in the 

■ Thf Livts of PhUip Hfmard, Earl of /Irumlel, and of Anne Dacres, his 
■wife. Edited from the original MSS. by the Duke of Norfolk, E. M. London, 
1857. PP- 94. "Z4- 

" In a lisl headed " Prisoners removed out of the Tower lo other prisnns," 
we have Sir Thomas Geranl, Bennet, Ilheil, &c., together in the Counter in 
Wood Street. P.R.O., Ehnintk, Kliiabtl/i, vol. ccxvii. n. n. And in a 
later paper called " The names of sundry persons (hat have heen ejaniined by 
Mr. Vice-Chimberlain and Mr. .Secretary concerning the disorders of ihe 
Tower, how ihey stand charged and where Ihey remain," we have "Counlei 
in Wood Street :— Sir Thomas Gerard, William Bennet, priest, have per- 
formed their duties in their confessions very willingly; John Snowden, first 
discoverer of all the disorders of the Tower. At liberty upon bonds :— Ralph 
Coke, servant lo Sir Thomas Gerard, broughl the keys into the Tower, 
confessed very willingly his fault, and hath divers limes given advertisement 
of priests." Hid. vol. cclxv. n, 135. 

' P.R.O., Domtstk, EliiabelA, vol. ecxiiv. n. 4. 

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Birth and Parentage. g 

Commission of the Peace," who were "all of them, though 
in some degree of conformity, yet in general note of evil 
affection in religion, no communicants, and the wives of 
most of them recusants."' In this Hst there appear the 
names of "Sir Thomas Gerard of the Bryn in Winwick 
parish, knight," and "Thomas Gerard of Highleycare in 
Winwick parish, son and heir to Sir Thomas Gerard, 
knight" To the name of Sir Thomas there is appended the 
remark, " He hath made show of conformity in our country." 

But it is too plain that the author of the hfe of the 
Earl of Arundel is right in saying that it was not a mere 
" show of conformity," but for a time at least a fail from 
the Catholic faith, for in the life^ of Father Edmund 
Arrowsmith the martyr we read that "Mr.Nicholas Gerard, 
Father Arrowsmith's grandfather by the mother's side, 
being a constant professor of the Catholic faith, was by 
order of Sir Thomas Gerard, his own brother, forcibly 
carried to the Protestant Church." 

This is a miserable story to have to tell of the father of 
John Gerard, and it must have been a sad grief to him all 
through his missionary life that while helping others he 
could not help his own father. The condemnation of the 
Earl of Arundel was in April, 1 589, when Father Gerard 
had been in England as a priest about four or five months, 
so that his father's fall must soon have reached his ears. 
And that father had stood out so bravely and had borne 
so much for his faith. It is said that the estate of Gerard's 

* In Ihe same list there is "Thomas Gerard of Garswood in Winwick 
parish, soundly affected in religion," that is (0 say 3 thorough Protestant. 
Others of ihe family were more constant lo their faith. " Cicely Ceranl, wife 
of Thomas Gerard of Highlecar, son and heir lo Sir Thomas Gerard, knight, 
of Winwick parish" and "Anne Gerard of Highlecar, widow, in Winwick 
parish," are both "recusants and thereof indicted." And in October, 1592, 
there is good (eslimony of Father Gerard's elder brother. "Mr. Thomas 
Gerard of High Carre hath had a notorious recusant to his schoolmaster, Roger 
Dickson by name, for this three years at the least, and another as I lake il for 
many years before." Information of a priest, probably Thomas Bell j P.R.O., 
Ihmalk, Elisabak, voL ccxliii. n. 52. 

° Cballoner's Missionary Pritsts. Derby Edit, vol. ii. p. 130. 

Hosted by 


lO Life of Father John Gerard. 

Bromley was the price that Elizabeth had imposed on him 
for his liberation from the Tower on the occasion of his 
first imprisonment, and this estate was transferred to his 
kinsman, Sir Gilbert Gerard, Master of the Rolls, whose 
eldest son took his title from it when raised to the peerage. 
A little before he was imprisoned in the Tower for the 
second time Sir Thomas was summoned before the said 
favoured kinsman to compound for his recusancy by the 
"free offer" of a yearly sum to be paid to the Queen, "to 
be freed from the penalty of the statute." As it gives an 
excellent idea of the exactions to which wealthy Catholics 
were continually subjected in those days, we subjoin Sir 
Thomas' "offer." The original in the Public Record Office' 
is signed by himself. 

"14° die Martii I585[6]. Sir Thomas Gerard saith 
that he is greatly in debt by reason of his troubles and 
suretyship, and payeth large interest for the same, and 
hath sold much of his lands and departed with a large 
portion of the rest unto his sons, and hath two daughters 
to bestow, so that he is not able to offer any great sums 
unto her Highness in this behalf. Yet nevertheless he most 
humbly submitteth himself unto her Majesty's pleasure, 
offering his person to serve her Highness in any place of 
the world. And if he shall not be admitted thereto, then 
he offereth with very good will 30/. a year, which is the 
fourth part of his small portion remaining now left to 
maintain himself, his poor wife and children. 

"Tho. Gerard." 

The name of "Dame Elizabeth Gerard" heads a list 
of thirty-three "Recusants sometime resident about London 
and in Middlesex, but now dispersed into other countries." 
And there is another satisfactory mention of Father 
Gerard's mother in the State Papers.^ " Lady Gerard of 

' P.R.O., Domestic, EHzabeik, vol. dxxxvil n. 48, viii. 
" Ibid., vol. ccxiv. n, 138. 

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Birth and Parentage. 1 1 

Etwall " was one of those who were present at a mass that 
was said at Mr. Langford's by a priest named Robert 
Gray, which priest was afterwards guilty of the incredible 
meanness of giving information against her to the Govern- 
ment The Mr. Langford at whose house the mass was 
said, was of course Lady Gerard's neighbour in Derbyshire, 
whom Sir Ralph Sadler stigmatised as " an obstinate 

With regard to the mention of property transferred by 
Sir Thomas Gerard to his sons, it may be interesting to 
quote from the information of a spy,' given just ten years 
later, the following details. "Item, John Gerard, tlie Jesuit, 
hath certain houses in Lancashire, called Brockehousc 
Row, near Ashton ; he hath made leases, and one tenant 
hath not paid all his fine ; old John Southworth, dwelling 
thereabouts, is his bailiff, who can show how all the land 
and title standeth." 


The papcr,^ from which two extracts have now been made, is 
so curious a specimen of espionage that, although it contains 
no further reference to Father Gerard, it deserves insertion in full 
as a note. For a copy of it we are indebted to the kindness 
of J. G. Leeraing, Esq., a diligent investigator of the State Papers 
of the reign of Elizabeth. 

" 3° Febr. anno 37° Reg. Elizabeth [159^]. 

" At Little Ogle, four miles distant from Rowell in North- 
amptonshire, lieth Mr. Bentley, who hath a priest in his house 
continually, and commonly a seminary priest, whom his wife 
calleth her chicken. 

" The said Bentley had an old man named Green, a carpenter 
and mason, who maketh all the little beads that be in little boxes : 

Hosted by 


1 2 Life of Father John Gerard. 

he made a secret place in Mr. Beniley's house at Lea, with a door 
of freestone, that no man could ever judge there were any such 
place ; and he maketh all the secret places in recusants' houses 
in that country. He dwelleth on Mr. Zacheverell's land at Marley, 
five miles distant from Derby. 

"Item, Launcelot Blackeborne, a seminary priest, was at Mr. 
Pallraer's at Kegworth in Leicestershire the 29th of January last, 
and that house is never without a priest, whether Mr. Pallmer be 
at home or abroad. 

"Item, Mr. Williamson dwelleth at Sawley, two miles from 
Mr. Pallmer's, and there kept a priest called John Redford alias 
Tanfield, until a certain time that Mrs. Williamson having a little 
dog which barked and made a great noise at mass time, the 
said Tanfield spurned him down the stairs with his foot and 
killed him, for which cause she fell out with the priest, and that 
house is seldom without another. [/« tnarg. Mr. Williamson is 
fled beyond sea, and was a chief man with the Earl of 

" Item, at Mr. Merrye's house in Burton Park, who married 
Mr. Pallmer's sister, Ijeth one Nicholas Wade alias Icke. a 
seminary priest, and he is also often at Mr. Pallmer's. 

"//»n, atone Bakewell's house at A wk em onto n [Alkmanton] 
a mile from Mr. Merrye's, there is great resort of priests. 

"Itaii, at Mr. Whitall's house near Ashbourne, four miles from 
Awkemonton, lieth one Robert Showell, a seminary priest, with 
a bald head, having one leg bi^er than the other : and at the 
buttery door they go up a pair of stairs straight to the chamber 
where they say mass. 

"/;««, at one Rawlins' house at Rawson, three miles from 
thence, before the parlour door there is 3 spence ' where priests and 
church stuff are to be found. There are many recusants in that 
town, and they resort all thither to mass. 

"Item, at Mrs. Ffolgeambe's house at Throwley, commonly 
called Meverell's house, there is one priest or other to be found. 

"■ Item,AX Mr. Genyson's house at Rowllsley, rear Bakewell in 
the Peak, there is John Redford alias Tanfield, a seminary priest, 
who hath authority from the Pope to hallow all kind of church 
' Spina, a cupboard, properly, the bullery. Nates' Claiiary. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter I. 13 

stuff, beads, and such like ; and there his library is to be found, 
for he studieth there ; and there also sojourn Mr. Lenton and his 
wife notable recusants. 

"Item, at Mr. Powdrell's house, called West Hallam, four 
miles beyond Derby, lieth one Richard Showell, an old priest, and 
sayeth mass there continually. 

" Hem, John Gerard, the Jesuit, hath certain lands in Lanca- 
shire, called Brockehouse Row, near Ashton ; he hath made 
leases, and one tenant hath not paid all his fine ; old John South- 
worth, dwelling thereabouts, is his bailiff, who can show how all 
the land and title standeth. 

" The said Redford alias Tanfield is a fine handsome man, 
having no hair on his face. And in some of those houses are 
also these priests, viz., Ruxby alias Pickering, a tall man with 
gray hairs cut near and round ; William Moorecocke, a tittle man 
with a clubbed foot ; Mr. Blackman, a big, lean-faced man, 
yellow-haired ; Launcelot Elackeborne, a black man, cut near, 
with some gray hairs, and snaffleth in his speech ; Nicholas Icke 
alias Wade, yellow-haired ; and many others. The priests use 
to cut all the hair off their upper lip, or else all that is nearest the 
lips, with a few hairs left above." 

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" At the age of fifteen," the autobiography resumes, " I 
was sent to Exeter Collie, Oxford, where my tutor was 
a certain Mr. Leutner,' a good and learned man, and a 
Catholic in mind and heart There however I did not 
stay more than a twelvemonth, as at Easter the heretics 
sought to force us to attend their worship, and to partaJce 
of their counterfeit sacrament. I returned then with my 
brother to my father's house, whither Mr. Leutner himself 
soon followed us, being resolved to live as a Catholic in 
very deed, and not merely in desire. While there, he 
superintended our Latin studies for the next two years, 
but afterwards going to Belgium, he lived and died there 
most holily. As for Greek, we were at the same time 
placed under the tuition of a good and pious priest, 
William Sutton by name, to whom this occupation served 
as an occasion for dwelling in our house unmolested. He 
afterwards entered the Society, and was drowned on the 
coast of Spain, whither Superiors had called him. 

•'At the age of nineteen I passed over to France, by 
permission, with the object of learning the French tongue, 
and resided for three years at Rheims. While there, 
though yet a lad, and far from being solidly grounded 
in my humanities, I applied myself to the study of Sacred 
Scripture, consulting the commentators for the sense of 
the more difficult passages, and writing down with my 

' Probably Edmund Lewckener, who appears in the College books as one 
of the new fellows on Sit W.retre'sfoiindalion in 1566. 

Hosted by 


Life before Ordination. 15 

own hand the explanations given publicly to the theo- 
logical students. Being my own master, I did not, as I 
ought to have done, lay a sufficiently solid foundation. 
My own taste guided my choice of authors, and I sedu- 
lously read the works of St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure, 
and such other spiritual writers. About this time I made, 
by God's providence, the acquaintance of a saintly young 
man who had been admitted into the Society at Rome, 
but having for reasons of health been sent out for a time, 
was then living at Rheims. He gave me the details of 
his past life ; he told me (may the Lord reward him) 
how he had been educated in the household of God ; 
he taught me how good and wholesome it was for a man 
to have borne the yoke from his youth. He taught me 
the method of mental prayer ; for which exercise we were 
wont to meet together at stated hours, as we were not 
living in the College, but in different lodgings in the 
town. It was there that, when about twenty years of 
age, I heard the call of God's infinite mercy and loving- 
kindness inviting me from the crooked ways of the world 
to the straight path, to the perfect following of Christ in 
His holy Society. 

"After my three years' residence at Rheims, I went 
to Clermont College, at Paris, to see more closely the 
manner of the Society's life, and to be more solidly 
grounded in humanities and philosophy. I had not been 
there one year when I fell dangerously ill. After my 
recovery, I accompanied Father Thomas Derbyshire to 
Rouen, in order to sec Father Persons, who had arrived 
thither from England, and was staying incognito in that 
city, to superintend the publication of his Christian 
Directory, a most useful and happy work, which in my 
opinion has converted to God more souls than it contains 
pages. The heretics themselves have known how to 
appreciate it, as appears from a recent edition thereof 
published by one of their ministers who sought to claim 

Hosted by 


1 6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

the glory of so important a work.' To Father Persons, 
then, did I communicate my vocation, and my desire of 
joining the Society. But as I was not yet strong, nor 
fit to continue my studies, and moreover, as I had some 
property to dispose of, and arrangements to mal<e in 
England, he advised me to return thither, so as to recruit 
my health by breathing my native air, and at the same 
time to free myself from every obstacle which might 
prevent or delay me in my pursuit of perfection and the 
religious life. I accordingly went home, and after settling 
my affairs, set out on my return in about a year; this 
time, however, without having asked for a licence, for I 
had no hope of obtaining it, as I did not venture to 
communicate my plans to my parents." 

It is not easy to reconcile the dates at this period of 
Father Gerard's life, and the only conclusion seems to be 
that at the time when this was written, when the author 
was about forty-five, he had forgotten the duration or 
succession of the various stages of his education. He 
could not have been nineteen when he went to France, 
and have lived, as he says, three years at Rheims, one 
at Paris, and about a year in England before setting out 
for France again, for he was most certainly a prisoner 
in the Marshalsea before he had half finished his nine- 
teenth year. His stay at Rheims and Paris was not after 
his release from the Marshalsea. for he was more than 
a full year in that prison, to which he was committed 
in March, isSi.and after his discharge in October, 1585, 
his recognizances were renewed every three months for 
another year before he left England for Rome, where he 
arrived in August, 1586. Besides, he was certainly in 
London on the 20th of April, 1586, as we shall shortly see. 

■ A Book of ChrisUan Exercia^ afpirtamin^ to Rf^olution. By R; P. 
Perused by Edmand Bunney, who dates his preface "al Bolton Perae. m the 
ancientie or liberties of York, the 9th of July, 1584." and inscribes it to 
Edwin Sandes, Archbishop of York. This Bunney was Subdean and Pre- 
bendary of York. An edition at Oxford and one in London appeared simul- 
taneously in 1585. 

Hosted by 


Life before Ordination. 1 7 

The most probable solution seems to be that the three 
years at Rheims, if the time was so long, were spent there 
before he went to Oxford, when as he tells us he was 
fifteen. The Douay Diary has an entry ^ " that on the 
29th of August, 1577, there came from England Mr. 
Faschall,^ a gentleman, and one Aldridge a merchant, 
and at the same time came Mr. Gerard, son of Sir Thomas 
Gerard, knight." In August or September, 1577, John 
Gerard was not yet thirteen. At that time the College 
was not at Rheims, but at Douay ; but as he probably 
accompanied the students who on the 27th of March, 1578, 
reached Rheims with Dr. Webb on the transfer of the 
College, it was only natural that he should speak of his 
time as spent at Rheims. 

Supposing John Gerard's year at Oxford to have 
followed and not to have preceded his residence at 
Rheims,— and he says that while at Rheims he was "yet 
a lad "—he must have gone to Clermont College, Paris, 
after a very short " two years " spent in Latin and Greek 
at home under Mr. Leutner and William Sutton. After 
some months there, followed by an illness and convales- 
cence, he went to Rouen with Father Derbyshire to see 
Father Persons. Now Father Persons edited the first 
edition of his Christian Directory when at Rouen, late In 
the year 1581, and the second in the winter of 1584.5 
On the latter occasion Gerard was in prison, so that his 
visit to Rouen was in the autumn or winter of the year 
1581, when he was seventeen; and this is borne out 

' " IS77, Aug. 29 die advenerant ex Anglia Mr. Paschallus vir nobilis et 
quidam Aldrigius mereator : eodem eliam tempore adventavit Mr. Gerrardus, 
B. Tho. Geirardi Equitis Aurali filius." Ssond Douay Diary, p. 128, editerf 
l^ the Fathers of the London Oratory, 1878. 

' Probably John Paschall, of Much Baddow in Essex, scholar of Ralph 
Sherwin the martyr, who entered the English College at Rome at its opening; 
in 1579, returned to England with Fathers Persons and Cafnpion, and after- 
wards fell from the faith "of frailty and upon fear of torments that were 
threatened unto him." Troubles of our Catholic Forefathtrs, Second Series, 
p. 294- 

3 Troubles, Second Series, pp. 15, 36. 

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1 8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

by his saying that it was on Father Persons' arrival from 
England. This is all that can be done' towards clearing 
up the dates of Father Gerard's life before he was com- 
mitted to the Marshalsea, but the date of that event is 
determined with the greatest exactness by "A note of 
the recusants remaining in the Marshalsea"^ in 1584, 
in which he appears among the "temporal gentlemen," 
thus — "John Gerrard sent in by Mr. Weekes the Sth of 
March, is83[4]." The latest date given in the list is 
but two days after this. 

Father Gerard thus describes how he come to be sent 
to the Marshalsea prison. Having told us that he tried 
to cross the sea without a licence, he continues in the 
following terms. " I embarked then with some other 
Catholics, and after having been kept five days at sea by 
contrary winds, we were forced to put in at the port of 
Dover. On arriving thither, we were all seized by the 
Custom-house officers, and forwarded to London in custody. 
My companions were imprisoned, on a warrant of the 
Queen's Privy Council, For my own part, though I declared 
myself a Cathohc, and refused to attend their worship, I 
escaped imprisonment at that time, as there were some of the 
Council that were friendly to my family, and had procured 
me the licence to travel abroad on the former occasion. 
They entertained, it would seem, some hopes of perverting 
me in the course of time, so I was sent to my maternal 
uncle's,^ a Protestant, to be kept in his custody, and if 
possible, to be perverted. He, after three months, sought 
to obtain my full liberty by praying or paying ; * but 
being asked whether I had 'gone to church,' as they 

■ See Note A at the end of the chapter. 

' The whole list is given in a note at the end of this chapter. 

3 As his mother had no brothers, his "maternal uncle" must be the 
hnsband of one of her sisters — either George Hastings, afterwards Earl of 
Huntingdon, who was not a bigot like his brother Heniy, " the tyrant of the 
north," or else Sir Thomas Staiihope. 

* Pracvdpntio. MS. 

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Life before Ordination. ig 

call it, he was obliged to acknowledge that he could never 
bring me to do so. 

"Thereupon the Council sent me with a letter to the 
pseudo-bishop of London,' who, having read it, asked 
whether I would allow him to confer with me on religious 
matters. I replied, that, as I doubted of nothing, I had 
rather decline. ' You must in that case,' answered the 
superintendent, 'remain here in custody.' I replied that 
in this I was obliged to acquiesce, through force and the 
command of the Government. He treated me with kind- 
ness, with a view perhaps of thus drawing me over. But 
he ordered his chaplain's bed to be brought into my 
chamber. At first I repeatedly declared my determination 
not to enter into any dispute with this man on matters 
of faith, as to which my mind was settled, nor to receive 
religious instruction from him; but as he ceased not 
pouring out abuse and blasphemy against the saints in 
Heaven, and against our Holy Mother the Church, I was 
forced to defend the truth, and then almost the whole 
night was spent in disputing. I soon discovered that 
in him at least God's truth had no very formidable adver- 
sary. After two days, as they saw my case was hopeless, 
they sent me back to the Council with letters of recom- 
mendation forsooth, for the so-called bishop told me that 
he had greatly striven in my favour, and that he had 
great hopes of my being set at large. It was, however, 
a Uriah's letter that I carried, for no sooner had the 
Council read it, than they ordered me to be imprisoned 
until I had learnt to be a loyal subject For they hold 
him a bad subject who will not subject himself to their 
heresies and their sacrilegious worship.^ 

"Being committed to the Marshalsea prison, I found 
there numbers of Catholics and many priests awaiting 
judgment of death with the greatest joy." There were 

' John Elmer was Bishop of London from 1577 to 1594. 
= Habibant mim pT) non subdito, qui nolebat subdi erroribus. MS. 

Hosted by 


20 Life of Father John Gerard. 

forty-seven Catholics in the prison, of whom seventeen 
were priests, and amongst them were William Hartley, 
Stephen Rowsham, and John Adams, future martyrs on 
the scaffold, Thomas Crowther, who died in prison, and 
William Bishop, the first Vicar Apostolic. " In this school 
of Christ," Father Gerard says. "I was detained from 
the beginning 'of one Lent to the end of the following, not 
without abundant consolation of mind and good oppor- 
tunity for study. We were twice during this interval 
dragged before the courts, not to be tried for our lives, 
but to be fined according to the law against recusants. 
I was condemned to pay 2,000 florins [200/.].' 

"Once on my return from the Court which was in 
the country, some six miles out of London, I got leave 
to go and visit some friends, having pledged my word 
to return to the Marshalsea that night. I went then to 
visit a prisoner detained in that horrible dungeon called 
Bridewell, as I had heard that he was sick. His story 
deserves notice. He had formerly lived in Father Cam- 
pion's service, and on account of some words he had let 
fall in praise of Father Campion, he was arrested and 
detained a long time in the Marshalsea. On my arrival 
there I saw him laden with heavy fetters on his legs, 
besides which he wore a very rough hair-shirt. He was 
most lowly and meek, and full of charity. I happened 
one day to see a turnkey strike him repeatedly without 
the servant of God uttering a single word. He was at 
length taken with three others to the filthy Bridewell- 
One of their number died of starvation a few days after 
their transfer. When I visited this poor man he was lying 
ill, being worn out with want of food, and labour on the 
tread-wheel. It was a shocking sight. He was reduced 
to skin and bone, and covered with iice that swarmed 
' In 1 lelter daled October 3, 1614 (Stonyhurst MSS., A«gl. A. vol. iv. 
n. 24), Father Gerard says that "7 florins of Li^e make but 6 of Brabant, 
IZJ. Enellsh." So we may turn his florins into pounds by taking off the last 

Hosted by 


Life before Ordination. 2 1 

upon him like ants on a mole-hill ; so that I never 
remember to have seen the like. 

"At times our cells were visited, and a strict search 
made for church stuff, Agnus Dei, and relics. Once 
we were betrayed by a false brother, who had feigned 
to be a Catholic, and disclosed our hidden stores to the 
authorities. On this occasion wore seized quantities of 
Catholic books and sacred objects, enough to fill a cart. 
In my cell were found nearly all the requisites for saying 
mass ; for my next door neighbour was a good priest, 
and we discovered a secret way of opening the door 
between us, so that we had mass very early every morn- 
ing. We afterwards repaired our losses, nor could the 
malice of the devil again deprive us of so great a con- 
solation in our bonds." 

Not long before John Gerard's imprisonment the fol- 
lowing report' by the Keeper was made to Lord Burghiey, 
of masses said in the prison of the Marshalsea. 

"Found at mass the 24th of August [1582], in the 
Marshalsea, as followeth. In Mr. Shelley's chamber, Thomas 
Hartley, priest, said mass, Richard Shelley, William Carew, 
gent, William Tooker, John Taylor, Mr. Shelley's man, 
Joan Watts, a stranger (of Oxfordshire), Mrs. Loe. In 
Mr. Perpoint's chamber, himself, Richard Norris in saying 
of mass, John Jacob. In Denton's chamber, himself 
priest, John Harris, his clerk. Their superstitious stuff, 
their abominable relics, and vile books, I have taken 
away ready to be showed. My humble request is to 
have the priests removed from me, and the rest to be 
examined and punished, as shall best seem good to your 

A little later the Bishop of London wrote a letter^ to 
Lord Burghiey to the same purport, and in it the name 
of Hartley the martyr recurs. 

Hosted by 


22 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

" Right honourable and my singular good Lord, — Your 
lordship shall understand that I have not been unmindful 
of that search which your lordship required to be made in 
our Registry and in the prisons about London for the 
space of the first eight or nine years of her Majesty's reign. 
For the truth is I have done in both what I can, and can 
find nothing to the purpose ; for in the Registry, Johnes, 
who had the whole doing therein, being dead, nothing 
certain can be heard, and the gaolers being oft changed, 
have nothing for those years certain. But this I find among 
them, and specially in the Marshalsea, that those wretched 
priests, which by her Majesty's lenity live there, as it were 
in a college of caitiffs, do commonly say mass within the 
prison, and entice the youth of London unto them to my 
great grief, and as far as I can learn do daily reconcile 
them. I have been so bold [as] to shut up one Hartley, 
and to lay irons upon him, till I hear from your lordship 
what course herein we shall take hereafter. But the Com- 
mission being renewed, I doubt not but my Lord of Can- 
terbury will look to those dangerous persons on that side. 
And so I take my leave of your good lordship, praying 
God to defend you with the shield of His providence in 
these malicious and dangerous days. At Fulham, this 5th 
of December, 1583. Your good lordship's most assuredly 
in Christ, 

"John Lond." 

Perhaps the "false brother" Father Gerard speaks of 
was Thomas Dodwell, and he may not have known who it 
was. At all events a spy of this name gave information,' 
which he called " Of the secrets in the Marshalsea." " One 
Tedder, a seminary priest, sent a letter^ to Rome within 

■ P.R.O., Donieslic, Elizahetk, vol. ckviii. n. 35- 

= In all probability this veiy letter is still in existence, for in the Archives 
ot the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, as the Reverend Father Knox of 
the Oratory has been so good as Id inform us, there is a letter from William 
Tedder in prison in London to Father Agaizari, Rector of the English College 

Hosted by 


Life before Ordination. 23 

four or five days past. There is there four seminary priests 
in one chamber and close prisoners, viz., Fenn, Fowler, 
Conyers, and Hartley ; and yet notwithstanding the often 
searching, they have such privy places to hide their mass- 
ing trumpery that hardly it can be found, that they have 
to themselves often mass, and now because Sir George 
Carey [or Carew, Knight Marshal] and his servants have 
often taken from them their silver chalices, they have pro- 
vided chalices of tin. . . . They hide their books in such 
secret places that when any search is [made] they can find 
nothing. They help many to go over beyond the sea, 
Mr. More, now prisoner in the Marshalsea, hath four sons 
in Rheims, whereof one he sent within this eight weeks, 
, . . There is in the Marshalsea certain persons whom 
they call Dividents, because they divide that equally 
amongst the priests which is sent. They know from whom 
this exhibition cometh, and who are the chiefest relievers 
of priests. The names of such are Perpoint, now prisoner 
in the Tower, Webster and Graye." Another hand has 
added, " Instead of Perpoint is Becket." 

" In the course of the following year," Father Gerard 
continues, and he is speaking of 1585, "my liberty was 
obtained by the importunities of my friends, who how- 
ever were bound as sureties, to the extent of a heavy 
sum of money, for my remaining in the kingdom. I was, 
moreover, to present myself at the prison at the three 
months' end." We are not without record of these bonds. 
The sum was 200/., a very considerable sum, be it remem- 
bered, in those days. The entry' runs thus: "31 Octob. 
1585- John Gerrard of Brinne, in the county of Lincoln 
{sic\, gentleman, bound in 200/. to return to the Marshalsea, 

at Rome, dated April 20, 1583. This Tedder read his recantation at St. Paul's 
Cross, December i, 1588, a week before Anthony Tyrrell. He is called 
Cedder in Bishop Challoner's catalogue of priests banished in 1585. Miaionary 
Priists. Derby Edit. vol. i. p, 190. 

' P.R.O., Domestic, Elizabeth, voL cc. n. 59; vol. ccv. n. 13. Another 
entry dated December 7, 1585, is in Domestic, Elizabith, vol. cxx, n. 59. 

Hosted by 


24 Life of Father John Gerard. 

prisoner, within three months." " And these sureties," he 
adds, '■ had to be renewed three or four times before I was 
able to resume my project. At length the long wished for 
opportunity presented itself. A very dear friend of mine 
■offered himself as bail to meet whatever demand might be 
made, if I was discovered to be missing after the appointed 
time. After my departure he forfeited, not indeed his 
money, but his life ; for he was one of the most conspicuous 
of those fourteen gentlemen' who suffered in connection 
■with the captive Queen of Scots, and whose execution, as 
events soon showed, was but a prelude to taking off the 
Queen herself." Babington, to whose plot Father Gerard 
here alludes, was executed with his associates on the 
20th and 21st of September, 1586, and Mary Queen of Scots 
on the 8th of February following. John Gerard had been in 
Rome about six weeks when his surety was put to death. 

" Being at length free, I went to Paris," is all that 
he says of his departure from England ; but the man 
who "conveyed" him over gave information of it after- 
wards to Elizabeth's ministers, and thus we know the 
names of those who crossed the Channel with him. The 
man was Thomas Dodwell, who has already described to 
us the interior of the Marshalsea ; and he now says ;' 
"Raindall, searcher of Gravesend, receiveth money of pas- 
sengers, suffering them to pass without searching. I myself 
escaped twice in this manner, having the first time in 
my company Bagshawe. who is now a seminary priest, 
Morrice,3 sometime of her Majesty's Chapel but now of 

■ The fourteen gentlemen were Anthony Babington, John Ballard, priest, 
I Savage R. Barnv/ell, Chidiock Tichborne, Charles Tylney, and E. Abington, 
hanged September 20 ; and T. Salisbury, Hen.y Dunne, Edward Jones, 
J. Traverse, J. Chamock, K. Gage, and Jerome Bellamy, hanged on the 
following day. 

'PRO, Domestic, Etnabelh, vol. ckviii. n. 35. 

3 " Anthony Harrison sworn the of October in Mr. Morrice' room. 

■who fled beyond the seas anno 25° C'SSSl fro™ Windsor." The Old 
•Ckeaut-book, or Bout 0/ Riviimbrsnce of Ike Chapd Royal from 1561 U 
1744. Edited for the Camden Society by Edward F. Rimbault, LL.D. 
1872, P- 4- 

Hosted by 


Life before Ordination. 25 

the Pope's, Owen who is now in Rome ; the second time, 
Hunt, who is now in the Marshalsea, Sir Thomas Gerrat's 
second son. Knight, Broughton, Afeild, Pansefoot, son 
and heir of Mr. Pansefoot of Gloucestershire, and the 
aforesaid Afeild' hath conveyed him over within this 

" Being at length free," says Father Gerard, " I went to 
Paris ; and finding Father William Holt, who had just 
arrived from Scotland, ready to start for Rome with 
the Provincial of France, I joined myself to their com- 
pany." Before leaving England he was present, as he 
tells us later, at the martyrdom of William Thomson 
alias Blackburn, who suffered at Tyburn for his priesthood 
on the 20th of April, 1586. The date of his arrival in 
Rome is marked in the " Pilgrims' Register " of the English 
College, which records^ that "Mr, John Gerard of Derby- 
shire was received in the hospital on the 5th of August 
[1586] and remained eight days," which was the length of 
time that pilgrims were received gratuitously who were 
not poor. He was soon missed in England, for in the 
British Museum^ we have the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' 
lists of " Recusants sent for," " Gentlemen not yet sent for," 
and " Persons to be sought after." Under this last heading, 
dated August 9, 1586, we have "The son of Sir Thomas 
Gerard." " Sir Thomas Gerard of Etwall, knight," is in 
the list of " Gentlemen not yet sent for." 

Father William Holt, with whom John Gerard travelled 
to Rome, was installed Rector of the English College 
in that city on the 24th of October, 1586, and in that 

■ IfDodwell is here speaking of Gerard's crossing in 1586, the Afeild here 
mentioned cannot be Thomas Alfield, the martyr, as he was executed at 
Tyburn for selling Catholic books on the 6lh of July, 1585. 

' "D. Joannes Gerardus Darbiensis receptus est in hospital! 5° August! et 
mansit 8 diebus. " Archives of the English College, Rome, Pilgrinn' }i/:giiler. 
Slonyhurst MSS., Father Grene's Misall. de Coll. Atigl. p. 19. 

3 Harl. MSS. 360, f. 8. 

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26 Life of Father John Gerard. 

month Gerard entered the College as a convictor.' He 
became an alumnus^ of the College, or as it was then 
always called, "an alumnus of his Holiness Pope SixtusV,," 
on the 5th of April following, taking the College oath in 
its earliest form,^ and in the course of the year 1587 he 
received the tonsure and minor orders, the subdeaconship 
in August, and the deaconship on the i6th of November. 
The date of his ordination to the priesthood is not given, 
but it was probably the Christmas Ember-tide of 1587. 
Father Gerard's theological course of studies was deplor- 
ably short, but happily the evil effects of haste were not 
afterwards seen in him, as they undoubtedly were some- 
times seen in those whose preparation for the difficult 
duties of a priest on the English Mission was hurried 
and curtailed. 

His own account of his College life is this : " At Rome 
I was advised to pursue my studies in the English College, 
and to take priest's orders before I entered the Society. I 
followed this advice, despite my ardent desire of entering 
religion, which I communicated to Father Persons, and to 
Father Holt, the then Rector of the English College. 
But as the Roman climate was not suited to ray consti- 
tution, and I had an extreme desire of going to England, 
it seemed good to the Fathers to put me at the beginning 

' "Joannes Gerarfus Anglus dioecesis LLchfeldiensis annum agens n'^-' 
nptus 3d theologiam positivam, teceptus full in hoc Angloram Collegium inter 
almnnos SSmi.D.N.Sisti V. a P. Gulielmo Holto hujus Cdlegn rectore 
de mamlato Illmi. Hippolyli Cardis, Aldobrandini Viceprotectoris sub die 
■l°Aprili3 anno Dni. 1587, cum fuLsset antea Convictor per septem menses. 

Xnno Dni. .587. -nense "^^P'' °''Ji"«= ""'"'"*=' ^' '^T,, Tf° 

subiliaconatum, et diaconatum 9° nense die r6." Libir Annal. Cell. Anglor. 

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Life before Ordination. 


of the year to casuistry and controversies ; I went therefore 
through a complete course of positive theology. Towards 
its close, when the Spanish Armada was Hearing the 
coasts of England, Cardinal Allen thought fit to send me 
to England for various matters connected with Catholic 
interests, but as I still wanted several months of the lawful 
age for taking priest's orders, a Papal dispensation was 
obtained. I was most unwilling to depart unless I was 
first admitted into the Society, so Father Persons, out of 
his singular charity towards me, obtained my admission 
to the novitiate, which I was to finish in England. There 
were at that time in the English College some others 
who had the like vocation, and we used to strive to con- 
form ourselves as much as possible to the novices at 
St. Andrew's, serving in the kitchen and visiting hospitals. 
On the feast of the Assumption of the most Blessed 
Virgin Mary, in the year of our Lord 1588, our Very 
Reverend Father General Aquaviva received Father 
Edward Oldcorne of blessed memory and my unworthy 
self into the Society of Jesus, and gave us his blessing 
for the English Mission." 

But even in Rome he ivas not out of sight of Elizabeth's 
ministers, whose spy system made them lynx-eyed. In 
"A note of such as are known to be beyond the seas, 
and of their friends in England as near as is known,"« 
m 1588, he is named as "John Garret, a priest in Rome, 
son to Sir Thomas Garret." Christopher Buxton^ the 
martyr, writing3 to Father Holt from Paris, June 9, 1587, 
mentions him, giving his name a similar form. " Remem- 
ber me unto good Mr. Fitzharbart, Mr. Garratte, Mr. Harte, 
John Nelson, and bestly unto my countryman Francis.'' 
This spelling of the name, which is very frequent, seems 

■ ^.^.O., Domestic, Elizabeth, vol. ccxix. n. 77. 

= He suffered at Canterbury in September or October, 15S8, with Robert 
Wilcojt and Edward Campion, priests, and Robert Widmerpool, a layman, 
Ihe foiTOer for being priests, the latter for giving hospitality lo priests. 

3 Slonyhursl MSS., Ab^. A. vol. i. n. 32. 

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28 Life of Father John Gerard. 

to indicate that it was pronounced like "Garrard" or 
"Jarrard." So Persons was pronounced and sometimes 
written "Parsons," and Fitzherbert " Fitzharbart." The 
same pronunciation of er we have not yet lost in the 
words "Derby" and "clerk." 



TliS dates of Father Gerard's life at this period. 

1577. August. Arrived at Douay when nearly 13. 

1578. March 27. College transferred to Rheims. 

1579. October ? Went to Oxford at the age of 15. 

1580. At home with M. Leutner and Mr, Putton. 

1581. In spring? Went to Clermont College, Paris. 
1581. In autumn. Met Father Persons at Rouen. 
158J. March 5. Committed to the Marshalsea. 

1585. October 31, Discharged on recognizances. 

1586, April 20. Present at William Thomson's martyrdom at 

1586. August 5. Received in the English Hospital at Rome. 

1586. October, Received in the English College as convictor. 

1587. April 5. Received there as alumnus. 
1587. August. Ordained subdeacon. 
1587. November 16, Ordained deacon. 

1587. December? Ordained priest, aged 23 years and 3 months. 

1588. August 15. Admitted into the Society. 
1388, September 21, Reached Rheims. 
1588. September 26. Left Rheims. 

1588. November? Lands in England. 

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Notes to Chapter II. 

"A note of the recusants remaining in the Mars/ialsea.' 

"Temporal gentlemen: 
Robert Beckett [flr_^Berkett], sent in the ist of November 1579 
John Gray, sent in the and of January 1577 

Walter Blunt, sent in the iSthof July 1580 

Theobald Greene, sent in the 30th of October 157S 

Richard Shelley, sent in the i3tli \or 18th] of August 1580 

William Phillipps, sent in the 6th of November 1578 

Edward Moore, JsentJ in the 2nd of August 1581 

Richard Webster, sent in the 25th [or 30th] of March 1573 

Edmond Sexton, sent in the 21st \or i6th] of March 1581 

Peter Carey [orVarty], sent in tbe 15th of October 1578 

Gilbert Wells, sent in the 21st of December 1583 

George Brytten, sent in by the Right Honourable my 

Lord of Hunsdon the 3rd of February 1583 

John Knightley, sent in the i6th day of February 1583 

John Gerard, sent in by Mr, Weekes the 5th of March 1583 

William Manneringe, sent in the 7th of March 1 583 

Thomas Moore, sent in the 28th of April 1582 

Nicholas Woolfe, sent in the 7th of December 1583 

" Other temporal men : 
Richard Reynolds, sent in the i8th of February 1580 

John Jacobb, sent in the i6th of August 1581 

John Tucker [f/- Tinker], sent in the 23rd of August 1581 [or 
John Harvie, sent in the same 23rd of August 
John Harris, sent in the same 23rd of August 
Walter Taylor, sent in the 23rd of November 
John Ridge, sent in the 9th of December 
Robert Awden, sent in tbe 10th of December 
Peter Lawson, sent in the ist of February 
Henry Sherwood, sent in the nth [o/-6tb] of February 1; 
Eley Jones, sent in the 7th of November 
Bartholomew Temple, sent in the 6th of November 
Richard Turner, sent in the 4th of October 

,58. 1 


,581 1 


■S8. 1 












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30 Life of Father John Gerard. 

"Seminary priests : 

Christopher Smawle, sent in the zsth of May 1582 

John Tibbitt, sent in the 3rd of November 1582 

Andrew Fowler, sent in the 3rd of November 1582 

Samuel Conyers, sent in the ist of February 1582 

William Teddar, sent in the 10th of December 1582 

William Hartlie, sent in the 22rd \or 16th] of August 1582 

Richard Norris, sent in the 17th of December 1581 

William Eishopp, sent in the nth of February 1581: 

Thomas Ctowder, sent in the 22nd of March 1581 

John Chapman, sent in the tst of November 1583 

William Warmington, sent in the loth of December 1582 
George Goodsalf \or Goodfuest] and Stephen Rusham, 

sent from the Tower the 12th of February 1583 

Robert Fenn, sent in the i6th of February 1583 
Thomas Aliet, sent in by warrant from the Council the 

24th of February '^5^3 

John Adams, sent in the 7th of March 1583 

John Talk, sent in the i8th of December 1583 
"Soma of all are 47. 
"Thomas Batman, sent in the i6th of February, 1583, Robert 
Purton, Sir Thomas I,ewrey his man, sent in by the Right Hon- 
ourable Sir Francis Walsingham the 28th of November, 1583, 
being examined answer that they are determined to go to the 

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" I STARTED then on my homeward journey, in company 
with Father Oldcorne and two other priests who had been 
students at the Enghsh College. 

" On our way through Switzerland, after having passed 
a night at Basle, we were curious to see the vestiges of 
the ancient faith, which the Lutherans usually allow to 
remain, and the Calviiiists generally destroy. As we were 
going round the church we ivere joined by a certain person, 
who offered to show us all the curiosities of the place. We 
were somewhat astonished at this ready civility on the 
part of a Lutheran towards Catholic priests (for we travelled 
in clerical habit), and, as our new friend spoke French, I 
began by inquiring of what country he was. I found out 
that he was from Lorraine. On inquiring his reasons for 
thus forsaking the land and the faith of his fathers, he 
replied that he found the laws of the Catliolic Church 
too stringent I asked which laws, as the Catholic Church 
imposes none other yoke than that of the Gospel, which 
as Christ bears witness, is sweet, and the burden thereof ■ 
light. At length I discovered that the unhappy man was 
a priest, an apostate, who had taken refuge at Basle, and 
lived there with a woman he called his wife, in the very 
same house at which we had put up, supporting himself 
and her by usury. I dealt very earnestly with him to 
leave this path of damnation, and to return to the way 
of heaven ; to leave a share of his money to the woman, 
and to lend no more at unlawful interest ; but to 

Hosted by 


32 Life of Father John Gerard. 

his future gains by labour or some lawful traffic. He 
promised at last to take my advice, and gave me a letter 
for his bishop, asking for reconciliation. I sent it as I 
passed through Lorraine, and I hope that the poor man 
persevered in his good purpose. 

"As we passed through Rheims, where there was the 
English Seminary, and through Paris, we kept the strictest 

The Douay Diary' gives us the dates of Father Gerard's 
arrival at Rheims and his departure thence, together with 
the names of his fellow-travellers. He reached the College 
on the 2ist and left it on the 26th of September, 1588, 
and the two secular priests he speaks of, as travelling 
with himself and Father Oldcornc, were Ralph Buckland 
and Arthur Stratford. The Diary does not notice that 
the two Fathers were members of the Society of Jesus. 
It is not possible that it was not known there, and we 
may regard it as a sign of the caution of which Father 
Gerard speaks. But his passing through Paris was not 
as little known as he thought, and without being aware 
of it he then fell into the gravest of the perils that beset 
the poor Catholics of England, the "perils from false 

There is a "Secret Advertisement "» to Sir Francis 
Waisingham, dated " From Paris, the 9th of December, 
1588," which says, with great exaggeration in the number, 
no doubt, "There were thirty priests to come over the 
14th of this last month of November, whose names I know 
not unless those that follow : one Beslye and one Tomson, 
so called, whose right name in very deed is Garret. There 
is also one Palmer and one White. There were seven 

■ " 158S, Sept. 21 die, Romi ad nos veneiunt D. Rodolphus Buckland, 
D. Joannes Getard, filius D. Thorns Gerard equitis auiati, D. Arthnnis 
Slratford, D. Edouardus Oldcorn, ptesbyteri. Die 26 Angliam iluri disces- 
senint D. Jo. Gerard, D. Rodolphus Buckland, D, Arthurus Stratford, et 
D. Edouatdas Oldcorn. Second Douay Diary. 

' P.R.O., Domestu, Elisabtth, vol. ccxii. n. 26, 

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Arrival in England. 33 

of these to come over at some place near unto Ewe [Eu], 
and one at another place, but for a certainty there are 
thirty either come or ready to come." We thus learn that 
Father Gerard had already taken the name of Tomson, by 
which he was chiefly known in the latter portion of his 

But a far more dangerous traitor than this "secret 
advertiser " was the infamous Gilbert Gifford, Father 
Gerard's second cousin. This man, whom Sir Edward 
Stafford, the English Ambassador at Paris, called "the 
most notable double treble villain that ever lived," was the 
chief agent employed to ripen the Babington conspiracy, 
which was designed in order to bring Mary Queen of Scots 
to the scaffold. By him Mary's communications with her 
friends in Paris and London were carried on, and all of 
them passed through the hands of Sir Francis WaJsingham 
and of Thomas Phelippes, "the decipherer." In the midst 
of this treachery he was ordained priest. He " purposely 
was made priest, as he confessed, to play the Secretary's 
spy." ' Fearing lest his English employers might imprison 
or execute him, to silence his tongue, when the Queen of 
Scots was dead, he went over to Paris ; but being there 
arrested for immorality and shut up in the Bishop's prison, 
other matters soon appeared against him, and he continued 
in prison till his death in 1590. The Ambassador on his 
arrest wrote to Sir Francis Walsingham that he thought 
"that they will put him to a hard plunge, for they mean 
to take him upon this point, which indeed letters (as I 
hear that they have of his, with his own hand written to 
Phelippes) will make hard against him, that he became 
a priest by cunning to deceive the world, and that he 
had, being become a priest with that intent, said mass 
after." 2 

This miserable man — who wrote to the Archbishop of 

■ Stonyhurst MSS., A«gl. A. vol. i. n. 70. 

= Letlei-Books of Sir Amias Pouiil, pp. 257, 38a 

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34 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Paris,' as "prestre Anglois bachelier en Th^ologie, disant 
que dcpuis le 19 du moys Decembre \\ est constitue 
prisonier en vos prisons episcopates, suppliant en toute 
humilite en I'honneur de la Passion de nostre Sauveur et 
de la trosglorieuse Vierge Marie" — found means under the 
names of Jacques Colerdin and Francis Hartley, to carry 
on a correspondence from his prison with Fhelippes and 
Walsingham, continuing thus to earn the pension of lOO^ 
a year from Elizabeth's Government, which he had received 
as the price of Mary Stuart's blood.^ This man. who was a 
'■ false brother " if ever there was one, found means to learn 
in his prison the news which he sent to his employers.^ 
" There be eight priests over from Rome, whereof John 
Gerard and Arthur Shefford [Stratford, the Douay Diary 
calls him], a priest, and his man, will be in England within 
five days." 

In all unconsciousness Father Gerard proceeds: "At 
length we come to Eu, where a College for English 
youths had been established,'* which was aftenvards aban- 
doned on account of the wars, and another more exten- 
sive establishment erected at St Omers. Our Fathers at 
Eu, after conferring with those who had the management 
of the College in that town, all strongly opposed our 
venturing into England, as circumstances then were, 
for the Spanish attempt had exasperated the public 
mind against Catholics, and most rigid searches for priests 
and domiciliary visits had been set on foot ; guards were 
posted in every village along the roads and streets ; and 
the Ead of Leicester, then at the height of his favour, 
had sworn not to leave a single Catholic alive at the close 
of the year, but this man of blood did not live out half 
that time himself, for he was cut off in that very same 

■ P.R.O., DomisHi, Etizabelh, vol. ccxvii. n, 81. 
' lUd., vol. cxcix. nn. 95, 96. 

3 Ibid. vol. ccxvii. n. 3. The Calendar gives for its dale Oct. I, 15BS. 
The postscript of the letter beats the date "8 Septembris," 
• Troubles, Second Series, p. 28. 

Hosted by 


Arrival in England. 35 

year. We were compelled then to stay there for a time, 
until fresh instructions were sent us by Father Persons 
in the name of Father General. They were to this effect, 
that the state of affairs had indeed mnch changed since 
our departure from Rome, but that as it was the Lord's 
business that we had to do, he left us free either to wait 
the return of greater calm, or to pursue the course we had 
entered upon. On receiving this desirable message, we 
did not long deliberate, but immediately hired a ship, to 
land us in the northern part of England, which seemed 
to be less disturbed." 

The "desirable message" is described a little more 
fully by Father Gerard in his " Narrative of the Powder 
Plot," ' where in his own English he relates this journey 
and his own and his companion's landing in England, 
" They received answer from Father Persons that the times 
were much more periculous than was expected when they 
went from Rome, yet sith the cause was God's, and their 
will so good to prefer the safety of others' souls before the 
safety of their own bodies, they might in the name of 
God proceed, if their desire still continued, but that it 
was left unto their own election. These letters were 
received with great joy, and the two Fathers, within few 
days after, got a ship wherein they embarked." 

When did they embark? "It was about the end of 
October," wrote Father Gerard twenty-one years afterwards, 
but it is plain that he has not placed their voyage across 
the Channel sufficiently late in the year. We have seen 
that they left Rheims on the 26th of September. They 
went first to Paris, and then to Eu ; and at Eu they 
remained long enough to receive an answer to a letter 
sent to Rome. The very earliest date that we can assign 
for their leaving Eu for England is that given in Walsing- 
ham's "Secret Advertisement," already quoted, which 
names the 14th of November. When Gilbert Gifford, at 
' Condition of Cathalia, p. 280. 

Hosted by 


36 Life of Father John Gerard. 

the beginning of October, said that they would "be in 
England in five days," he was not of course aware of the 
delay that would be caused by their writing to Rome 
from Eu. 

Both Gilbert Gifford and the other spy speak of eight 
priests crossing the Channel. We know of only six — the 
two Jesuit Fathers, Ralph Buckland, and Arthur Stratford, 
who had accompanied them from Rome, and the two 
of whom he now comes to speak. " Two priests from 
Rhcims joined us, as our former companions preferred to 
take time before they faced the dangers which awaited 
them on the opposite shores. The ship then set sail with 
four priests on board, a goodly cargo indeed, had not my 
unworthiness deprived me of the crown, for all those other 
three suffered martyrdom for the faith. The two priests 
were soon taken, and being in a short space made perfect, 
they fulfilled a long time. Their names were Christopher 
Bales and George Beesley,' but my companion, the blessed 
Father Oldcorne, spent eighteen years of toil and labour 
in the Lord's vineyard, and watered it at length with 
his blood. 

" After crossing the Channel, as we were sailing along 
the English coast on the third day, my companion and I, 
seeing a convenient spot^ in which the ship's boat might 
easily set us on shore, and considering that it were dan- 
gerous if we were to land all together, recommended the 
matter to God and took counsel with our companions, 

■ They both suffered in Fleel Street; Christopher Bales on March 4, 15"*, 
and Geoi^e Beesley on July 2, 1591- They were condemned under the statute 
27° Elizabeth, for having been made priests beyond the seas and exercising 
their functions in England. The martyrdom of Christopher Bales and of 3 
layman named Nicholas Horner is related by Father Southwell in a letter 
dated London, March 8, i5|9. P.Ii.O., Domistic, Etha&tlh, vol, ccxxx, 

' A complete examination of all the questions that arise connected with 
Father Gerard's landing and residence in Norfolk will be found in a note 
appended to this chapter, kindly drawn up some years ago by the Reverend 
Dr. Jessopp, now Rector of Scarning, who unites to his accurate local know- 
ledge a Angularly wide acquaintance with the recusant families of the county. 

Hosted by 


Arrival in England. 37 

We then ordered the ship to anchor off that point until 
dark ; and in the first watch we were put ashore in the 
boat and left there, whereupon the ship immediately set 
sail and departed. We remained there awhile commend- 
ing ourselves in prayer to God's providence ; then we 
sought out some path which might lead us further inland, 
at a greater distance from the sea, before the day should 
dawn. But the night being dark and cloudy we could 
not strike out any path that would lead us to the open 
country, but every way we tried always brought us to 
some dwelling, as we were made aware by the barking 
of the dogs. As this happened some two or three times, 
we began to fear lest we might rouse some of the in- 
habitants, and be seized as thieves or burglars. We 
therefore turned into a neighbouring wood, where we pro- 
posed to rest during the night. But the rain and the 
cold (for it was about the end of October [or rather, 
November]) rendered sleep impossible, nor did we dare 
to speak aloud to one another as the wood was in the 
neighbourhood of a house, but we deliberated in whispers 
whether to set out together for London or to part 
company, so that if one were taken the other might 
escape. Having pondered the reasons on both sides, 
we determined to set forth each by himself, and to take 
different routes. 

"At day-dawn, then, we cast lots who should first leave 
the wood, and the lot fell on the good Father who was 
also the first to leave this world for Heaven. We then 
made an equal division of what money we had, and after 
embracing and receiving one from the other a blessing, 
the future martyr went along the sea-shore to a neigh- 
bouring town, where he fell in with some sailors who were 
thinking of going to London. Being prudent and cautious, 
he strove by cheerfulness to accommodate himself to their 
humours in indifferent things. But twice or thrice he 
could not withhold from reproving their coarse and filthy 

Hosted by 


38 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

language, though he imperilled himself by so doing, as he 
afterwards told me. And indeed his zeal in this matter 
was very great, as is proved by many accounts which I 
have often heard related. 

" One instance may serve for all. Father Oldcorne 
while in London visited a certain Catholic gentleman who 
was greatly attached to him. On the window of his room 
was painted an improper picture of Mars and Venus ; and 
although the house was not the property of his friend, but 
rented by him, the Father could not endure such an object, 
so he struck his fist through the pane, and told his host 
how unbecoming it was to allow such things to remain. 
Such was this good Father's zeal for God's honour, and his 
Jove of truth. Joining himself then to the aforesaid sailors, 
he knew how to combine the prudence of the serpent with 
the simplicity of the dove, and behaved himself in such 
sort that though he did not conceal that the evil he saw in 
them was displeasing to him, yet evil as they were he won 
their esteem, and by their means, and the protection they 
unwittingly afforded, he was enabled to reach London 
without molestation ; for the watchers, who were in almost 
every town through which he passed, taking him to be one 
of the party, cared not to annoy those whose appearance 
and carriage distinguished them so completely from those 
for whom they were keeping watch. 

"When my companion had departed I too set out, but 
by a different road. I had not gone far before I saw some 
country folks coming towards me. I went up to them and 
inquired about a stray falcon, whether they had heard the 
tinkling of his bells. For I wanted them to think that I 
had lost a falcon, and was going through the country in 
search of it. as is usual with those who have sustained 
such a loss, so that they might not wonder why I was 
strange to the country, and had to ask my way. They, of 
course, had neither seen nor heard any such thing of late, 
and seemed sorry that they could not direct my search. I 

Hosted by 


Arrival in England. 39 

then went with a disappohited air to examine the neigh- 
bouring trees and hedges, as if to look for my bird. Thus 
I was able, without awakening suspicion, to keep clear of 
the highway, and to get further and further from the 
sea shore, by going across country. Whenever I saw any 
one in a field I went up to him and put the same series of 
questions about the falcon, concealing thereby my anxiety 
to keep out of the public roads and villages, where I knew 
sentinels were posted with power to examine every stranger. 
I thus managed to expend the best part of that day, 
walking some eight or ten miles, not in a straight line, but 
by doubling and returning frequently on my steps. At 
length, being quite soaked with rain, and exhausted with 
hunger and fatigue, for I had scarcely been able to take 
any food or rest on board ship for the tossing of the 
waves, I turned into a village inn which lay in my 
road, for those who go to the inns are less liable to be 

"There I refreshed myself well, and found mine host 
very agreeable, especially as I wanted to buy a pony he 
had in his stable. I concluded the bargain at a reasonable 
price, for the owner was not very rich ; but I took it as a 
means of more speedy and safer transit, for foot-passengers 
are frequently looked upon as vagrants, and even in quiet 
times are liable to arrest. 

"Next morning I mounted my pony and turned 
towards Norwich, the capital of that county. I had scarce 
ridden two miles when I fell in with the watchers at the 
entrance of a village, who bade me halt, and began to ask 
me who I was and whence I came. I told them that I 
was the servant of a certain lord who lived in a neigh- 
bouring county (with whom I was well acquainted, though 
he was unknown to them), that my falcon had flown away, 
and that I had come to this part of the country to recover 
him if he should have been found. They found no flaw in 
my story, yet they would not let me go, but said I must 

Hosted by 


40 Life of Fat/ier John Gerard. 

be brought before the constable and the beadle,' who were 
both in church at the time, at their profane heretical 
service. I saw that I could neither fly nor resist, nor could 
I prevail with these men, so yielding to necessity I went 
with them as far as the churchyard. One of the party 
entered the church and brought word that the beadle 
wished me to come into the church, and that he would see 
me when service was over. I replied that I would wait for 
him where I was. ' No, no,' said the messenger, ' you must 
go into church.' 'I shall stop here.' I returned, 'I don't 
want to lose sight of my' 'What!' said the man, 
' you won't dismount to go and hear the Word of God ! I 
can only warn you that you will make no very favourable 
impression ; as to your horse, I myself will engage to get 
you a better one, if you are so anxious about him,' * Go 
and tell him,' said I, 'that if he wants me, either he must 
come at once or I will wait here.' As soon as my message 
was taken to him, the beadle came out with some others 
to examine me. I could easily see he was not best 
pleased. He began by demanding whence I came. I 
answered by naming certain places which I had learnt 
were not far off ; to his questions as to my name, condition, 
dwelling, and business, I made the same answers as above. 
He then asked whether I had any letters with me ; on 
which I ofl"ered to allow him to search my person. This 
he did not do, but said he should be obliged to take me 
before the Justice of the Peace.^ I professed my readiness 
to go, should he deem it needful, but that I was in a hurry 
to get back to my master after my long absence, so that if 
it could be managed I should be better pleased to be 
allowed to go on. At first he stood to his resolution, and 
I saw nothing for it but to go before the Justice and to be 
committed to gaol, as doubtless would have been the case. 

' Ad subcuratoraii paiis, tt ad eiiisorm. MS. The above ate conjectiital 
renderings. These seem lo have been only vLliafie officials. 

Hosted by 


Arrival in England. 41 

But suddenly looking at me with a calmer countenance, he 
said, 'You look like an honest man : go on in God's name, 
I don't want to trouble you any more.' 

" Nor did God's providence abandon me in my further 
journey. As I rode onward towards the town I saw a 
young man on horseback with a pack riding on before me, 
I wanted to come up with him, so as to get information 
about the state of the town, and ask the fittest inn for me 
to put up at, and he looked like one of whom I could make 
such inquiries without exciting suspicion ; but his horse 
being better than mine I could not gain upon him. urge 
my pony how I would. After following him at a distance 
for two or three miles, it chanced by God's will that he 
dropped his pack, and was obliged to dismount in order 
to pick it up and strap it on. As I came up I found he 
was an unpolished youth, well fitted for my purpose. From 
him I acquired information that would have been very 
useful had any danger befallen, but, as it was, by his means 
thf Lord so guided me that I escaped all danger. For I 
inquired about a good inn near the city gate, that I might 
not weary my horse in going from street to street in search 
of one. He told me there was such an inn on the other 
side of the city ; but that if I wanted to put up there I 
must go round the town. Having learnt the way thereto 
and the sign of the house, I thanked my informant, and 
left him to pursue his road, which led straight through the 
town, the same way I should have followed had I not met 
with such a guide, and in that case I should have run into 
certain danger, nor would any of those things have befallen 
which afterwards came to pass for God's greater glory and 
the salvation of many souls. 

" Following, then, the advice of the young man, I went 
round the skirts of the city to the gate he had described, 
and as soon as I entered I saw my inn. I had rested me 
but a little while there when a man who seemed to be an 
acquaintance of the people of the house came in. After 

_ Hosted by 


42 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

greeting me civilly, he sat down in the chimney corner 
and dropped some words about some Catholic gentlemen 
who were kept in gaol there ; and he mentioned one whose 
relative had been a companion of mine in the Marshalsea 
some seven years since.' I silently noted his words, and 
when he had gone out I asked who he might be. They 
answered that he was a very honest fellow in other points, 
but a Papist. I inquired how they came to know that. 
They replied that it was a well-known fact, as he had been 
many years imprisoned in the Castle there (which was but 
a stone's throw from the place where I was) ; that many 
Catholic gentlemen were confined there, and that he had 
been but lately let out. I asked whether he had abandoned 
the faith in order to be at large. ' No, indeed,' said they, 
' nor is he Hkely to, for he is a most obstinate man. But 
he has been set free under an engagement to come back 
to prison when called for. He has some business with a 
gentleman in the prison, and he comes here pretty often 
on that account' I held my tongue, and awaited his return. 
"As soon as he came back, and we were alone, I told 
him that 1 should wish to speak with him apart : that I had 
heard that he was a Catholic, and for that reason I trusted 
him, as I also was a Catholic : that I had come there by a 
sort of chance, but wanted to get on to London : that it 
would be a good deed worthy of a CathoUc were he to do 
me the favour of introducing me to some parties who 
might be going the same road, and who were well known, 
so that I might be allowed to pass on by favour of their 
company : that being able to pay my expenses I should be 
no burden to my companions. He replied that he knew 
not of any one who was then going to London. I hereon 
inquired if he could hire a person who would accompany 
me for a set price. He said he would 3ook out some such 
one, but that he knew of a gentleman then in the town 

' Here Father Gerard's memory is inaccurate, for it was less than live 
years since he was committed to the Marshalsea. 

Hosted by 


Arrival in England. 43 

who might be able to forward my business. He went to 
find him, and soon returning desired me to accompany 
him. He took me into a shop, as if he were going to 
make some purchase. The gentleman he had mentioned 
was there, having appointed the place that he might see 
me before he made himself known. At length he joined 
us, and told my companion in a whisper that he believed 
I was a priest. He led us therefore to the cathedral, and 
having put me many questions, he at last urged me to say 
whether or no I was a priest, promising that he would 
assist me— at that time a most acceptable offer. On my 
side, I inquired from my previous acquaintance the name 
and condition of this third party [Edward Yelverton of 
Grimston']; and on learning it, as I saw God's provi- 
dence in so ready an assistance, I told him I was a priest 
of the Society who had come from Rome. He performed 
his promise, and procured for me a change of clothes, 
and made me mount a good horse, and took me without 
delay into the country to the house of a personal friend, 
leaving one of his servants to bring on my little pony. 

" The next day we arrived at his house, where he and 
his family resided, together with a brother of his [Charles 
Yelverton] who was a heretic. They had with them a 
widowed sister [Jane, the widow of Edward Lumner], also 
a heretic, who kept house for them, so that I was obliged 
to be careful not to give any ground for them to suspect 
my calling. The heretic brother at my first coming was 
very suspicious, seeing me arrive in his Catholic brother's 
company unknown as I was, and perceiving no reason 
why the latter should make so much of me. But after a 
day or so he quite abandoned all mistrust, as I spoke of 
hunting and falconry with all the details that none but a 
practised person could command. For many make sad 
blunders in attempting this, as Father Southwell, who was 
afterwards my companion in many journeys, was wont to 
' See Di. Jessopp's note al the end of the chapter. 

Hosted by 


44 Life of Father John Gerard. 

complain. He frequently got me to instruct him in the 
technical terms of sport, and used to complain of his bad 
memory for such things, for on many occasions when he 
fell in with Protestant gentlemen he found it necessary to 
speak of these matters, which are the sole topics of their 
conversation, save when they talk obscenity, or break out 
into blasphemies and abuse of the saints or the Catholic 
faith. In these cases it is of course desirable to turn the 
conversation to other subjects, and to speak of horses, of 
hounds, and such like. Thus it often happens that trifling 
covers truth,' as it did with me on this occasion. 

" After a short sojourn of a few days I proposed to my 
newly-found friend, the Catholic brother, my intention of 
going to London to meet my Superior. He therefore pro- 
vided me with a horse, and sent a servant along with me, 
begging me at the same time to obtain leave to return to 
that county, and to make his house my home, for he assured 
me that I should bring over many to the faith were I to 
converse with them publicly as he had seen me do. I 
pledged myself to lay his offer before Father Garnet, and 
said that I would willingly return if he should approve of 
it. So I departed, and arrived in London without accident, 
having met with no obstacle on the road. I have gone 
into these particulars to show how God's providence 
guarded me on my first landing in England ; for without 
knowing a single soul in that county, where until then I 
had never set foot, as it was far distant from my native 
place, on the very first day I found a friend who not only 
saved me from present peril, but afterwards, by intro- 
ducing me to the principal families in the county, furnished 
an opportunity for many conversions ; and from the 
acquaintance I then made, and the knowledge the Catholics 
in those parts had of me in consequence, all that God chose 
hereafter to do by my weakness took its origin, as will 
appear by the sequel." 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter III. 45 



I. At what point on the coast of Norfolk did Joiin Gerard land, 
and by what road did he reach Norwich ? 

1. He landed at a part of the coast where a vessel could ride 
at anchor close to the shore, and where a boat could " con- 
veniently" put a passenger ashore even in the dark. This 
excludes Vannouth (which for other reasons could not have 
been the place of landing), and also excludes any spot on the 
coast from Blakeney to Lynn. It also excludes Weybourn, where 
the landing is at all times dangerous, and there only remains the 
coast between Sherringham and Happisburgh. 

2. But any one landing between Sherringham and Bacton 
would find himself to the north of Aylsham and North Walsham, 
and travelling on the high road (as it is plain Gerard did), 
he must needs pass through one or the other of these towns, 
as it is plain Gerard did not. This narrows the part of the coast 
on which the landing took place to the three or four miles 
between Happisburgh and Bacton, and I am inclined to place 
the landing point at or near the latter place. There were 
dwellings close to the shore, and many of thera, so that 
wherever Gerard turned, he came upon a house, and this would 
certainly hold good of Bacton j added to which is the considera- 
tion that close to this place stood the Priory of Bromholme, 
with its church, two hundred feet long then, and stil! (though 
now in ruins) a landmark for vessels at sea. 

3. Carefully picking bis way, he stopped at a village five 
or six miles from his place of landing. Assuming the landing 
place to be Bacton, this would bring him to Honing, Dilham, or 
Stalham, on the way to Norwich. He would have left North 
Waisham well to his right, and some four miles behind him. 
At this village he spent the night, and bought his pony. 

4. Next morning he proceeds on bis way, and after a couple 
of miles' riding, he comes upon another village, evidently on the 
road to Norwich. The " constable " and " beadle " are both 
in the church, and it is fair to infer from this that the place was 

Hosted by 


46 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

of some b ze and importince ^nd the church a cliurch of some 
pretension It is probable that this village was the tillage of 
Worsted, a large villagt with the remains of the woollen manu 
farturers stLll languishing there e\en in Queen Ehz'ibeths time 
nnd a church which is one of the grandest in the county at the 
I resent da\ Here Gerard nas detained 

5 Worsted is about thirteen miles from Nonvich On be ng 
released from the clutches of the beadle who probably knew 
tliat a justt e of t/u petce t is fir to seek t>i this neighboiirhopi 
Cenrd pushed on ind fell n with the man with the park 
ind on his asking advire ibout an mn he is told that he must 
" make a circi t of the c ty before he can get at the inn named 
Coming from Bacton throu£,h Stalham and Worsted it is clear 
that he mist have been on the hi£;h road from either Holt or 
North U alsham It may have been either and it would have 
been prudent after heme stopped on the latter road to make 
across countrj to the former At any rate he was making for 
one of the northern gates ot the citj either the Magdalen or 
St Augustine s gatt— probably the latter TuminE; down from 
the high ground now called Upper Hellesdon he «ould drop 
donn to Heigham and skirt ng the cit> would strike the old 
wall which IS still in part standing and which bounds Chapel 
Fields and leaving St Giles gates behind him would enter the 
city by the Brazen Gates as the} were called close to the 
present mihtia barracks and in a couple of hundred jards further 
on would hnd his inn which was clearh one of those man> inns 
that even to this day cluster round the Market Hill, and all 
"within a stone's throw" of the Castle. Here he made his 
first acquaintance. 

II. Who was this acquaintance? 

The person in question had been many years in prison ; 
he was very obstinate ; he had been lately let out of the Castle 
under an engagement to come back to prison when called for, 
and he had business with a gentleman who was detained in 

Now there were six or seven of the recusant gentry of Norfolk 
detained in the Castle at Norwich as early as 1580; and, indeed, 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter III. 47 

one or two of them in 157S. These gentlemen appear to have 
had a common room and common table, and to have lived 
pretty much as the recusants subsequently lived at Wisbech and 
Ely. They were In some danger of getting into great trouble 
in 1580, as may be seen in Strype's Annals,' and their names 
then were: (i) Robert Downes, (z) Michael Hare, (3) Roger 
Martin, (4) Humphrey Bedingfeld, (5) Edward Sulliard, 

Mr. Martin and Mr. Sulliard were Suffolk gentlemen, and 
their names disappeared from the lists of Norfolk recusants 
shortly after this time, only to appear among the Suffolk men. 
Besides these five, there were others who were in the Casde, viz., 
Fcrdinando Paris, Robert Gray— -(there was a man of this name 
in the Marshalsea with Gerard)— Walter Norton, and Robert 
Lovell. It is hardly necessary to say that they were all men 
of suhstance, and able to pay their way. At a meeting' of the 
Privy Council at St James' on the "Sth of ^u^ust 1588 order is 


taken that 

1 tt b 

th B h p 

f N rw h t 

f n- 

himself of th 

b 1 

f J B dh 

k pe fth 


at Norwi h 

b g 


d f t h 

2. m lb 


such [as] 

b t 


fit 1 Ad 


i8th of 

b g 

1 9 b 

h bh 


Norfolk, f 

h t th 


d hp d 

d th t h 

sa t 

that are \ 


g 1 

th th t 


much har 

d f 


>b> I 1 

b > h h h y 

J ) 

there." A 
Gray, ke p 

d gly 


1 d 1 
V Th d 

d t th t 

pp b 


t W fc 


executed, though the names of the gentry are given, viz. . (i) 
Walter Norton, (2) George Downes, (3) Ferdinando Paris, (4) 
Robert Lovell, (5) Humphrey Bedingfeld, (6) Robert Gray. I 
say this was not executed, for I find Ferdinando Paris was never 
sent to Wisbech at all, and was sent to Ely in March f^, and 
that all the rest were at Norwich in the Castle as late as the 5th 
of April, 1590, and I have strong reason for believing that they 
were never sent out of the county at all. 

These men occasionally had liberty to go out on business, 
giving bail for their reappearance, thus, e.g., "A warrant^ to the 

' Vol. ii. part ii. p. 634. ' Privy Council Book. 

3 Privy Council Bcok, 7lh January, 1587-8. 

Hosted by 


48 Life of Father John Gerard. 

keeper of Norwich Gaol to take bonds of Walter Norton, gent., 
remaining prisoner under his custody with two sufficient sureties 
in the sum of 1,000/. to her Majesty's use, with condition to return 
himself prisoner at the end of one month following into his 
custody, and thereupon to set him forthwith at liberty." Again, 
20th March, 1588-9: "A letter to the High Sheriff of Norfolk. 
Whereas Humphrey Bedingfeld, gent., hath been long time a 
prisoner for recusancy in Norwich Gaol ... He was required 
to take order that Bedingfeld might be delivered to the custody 
of Mr. Rowe, parson of Quidenhara, to remain with him," &c- 
It will be noticed that the last list of names of prisoners in the 
Castle in October, 1588, instead of Robsri Downes the name of 
George Downes occurs.' 

Was the first acquaintance Robert Downes ? 

HI. I have pleased myself with the conjecture that the 
gentleman alluded to as in the Castle was Ferdlnando Paris.' 
He had a house at Pudding Norton, in the neighbourhood of 
the Walpoles, Yelverlons, and others with whom I feel sure 
Gerard was brought into close relations by and by. If this 
were so, the fact of Ferdinando Paris having some business to 
transact in connection with his property, might account for a 
neighbour of his being in Norwich on the day when Gerard 
arrived there ; that neighbour being come up perhaps to meet 
Downes on Paris' business. 

IV. Who was this neighbour? That is to say, who was 
the second acquaintance whom Father Gerard made in Norwich, 
whose house afterwards became his head-quarters in the county? 

1. He lived two days' journey from Norwich. 

2. He lived with a brother of his who was a heretic. 

3. He had as a housekeeper a widowed sister, also a heretic. 

4. And he had a married sister, whose husband was " a man 
of rank " with "great possessions." 

' This is certainly a mistake ; Rotxr! Downes had indeed a younger brother 
Giorge, but he was dead before (his lime, and he lived, not in Norfolk, but in 

" He was afterw-ards knighted. I cannot tell when and where, but in 
some MSS. in Pembroke College, Cambridge, which came from him, be is 
repeatedly styled Sir Ferdinaniio Paris. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter III, 49 

Now it must be reraembered that Father Gerard wrote his 
account of these events twenty years after their occurrence, and 
it may well happen, indeed it is almost inevitable, that there 
must have been some confusion in such matters of detail as 
dates and family relationships. With this consideration to serve 
as a caution against requiring too faithful a record and too minute 
a correspondence between the assertions made and the facts 
that may crop up in examining such evidence as we have at 
hand, I proceed to deal with this further problem. But before 
doing so I must add another caution. The evidence which 
Heralds' pedigrees furnish us with are, as a rule, very untrust- 
worthy, and in the matter of dates especially are very little to 
be relied on. Where family alliances are recorded, the dates of 
marriages, births, and deaths are of very secondary importance : 
the names of the persons entering into matrimonial contracts are 
the main thing in the eye of the genealogist. 

I believe and feel morally certain that the person indicated 
by Father Gerard as having afforded him his first asylum in 
Norfolk was Edward Velverton of Grimston, and that he had 
at this time living with him his brother Charles, who was after- 
wards knighted, and his half-sister Jane, who had become a widow 
in that very year 1588 by the death of her husband Edward 
Lumner of Mannington, Esq. He was then himself about thirty 
years of age, and he was a widower, having lost his first wife 
shortly after his marriage. His second wife was Nazareth, 
daughter of Edmund Bedingfeld, Esq. This Edward Yelverton 
was the son of William Yelverton of Rougham, Esq. He was 
the eldest son of a second family, the father having married first 
Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Farmour of Bashara, co. Norfolk, 
and secondly Jane, daughter of Edmund Cockett of Hampton, 
CO. SufTolk. The old man died in 1586, and by his will appears 
to have done his utmost to provide for his second family as well 
as_ for the first, insomuch that a dispute arose on the interpreta- 
tion of the will, and the matter being brought before the Lords 
of the Privy Council in 1587, they referred the cause to three 
arbitrators, who I suppose settled it without letting the litigants 
go into court At his father's death in T586 Edward Yelverton 
inherited, in virtue of a marriage settlement, a considerable estate 

Hosted by 


50 Life of Father John Gerard. 

in Grimston and the adjoining parishes, extending over about 
iSve thousand acres. The two families numbered at least fifteen 
children, and in ihe pedigrees considerable confusion has arisen, 
and many inaccuracies are to be found, some of which I am in 
a position to correct 

Of the brothers, one Christopher Yelverton was nominated a 
Judge of the Queen's Bench on the and February, 1602. 

Of the sisters, one whose name was Jane was married to 
Edward Lumner of Mannington, and left a widow in 1588. 

Another was married to Sir Philip Woodhouse, son and heir 
of Sir Roger Woodhouse of Kimberley. 

"Two of my father's sisters are still alive," their nephew 
Charles Yelverton wrote in 1601,' "of whom one, Grisel, is 
the wife of Sir Philip Woodhouse, knight; the other, Jane, is 
the widow of Robert [Edward] Lumner. Both were Catholics, 
but one of them [Lady Woodhouse] on account of her husband's 
violence, which often used to break out against her, has lately 
relapsed into heresy." 

1 find in a Recusant Roll of the 34th Elizabeth (rsga), among 
the names of those from whom fines are due, the following two 
consecutive entries : 

"Jane Lumner, nuper de Kymberley, vidua ccc/. pro consimilL 

" Nazareth Yelverton, nuper de Sandringham, uxor Edward! 
Yelverton de eadem generosi, ccc/. pro consimili." 

It may be asked, why should Jane Lumner be described as 
of Kimberley? The answer is obvious. Her sister Grisel, being 
the wife of Sir Philip Woodhouse, might reasonably have been 
expected to be able to afford her some protection, the Wood- 
houses being powerful people in Norfolk and serving the office 
of High Sheriff for the county again and again. 

But who was the " man of high rank " whom one of the 
sisters of his host had married? I can hardly doubt that it was 
this Sir Philip Woodhouse to whom Gerard alludes ; and, 
"reading between the lines," I can hardly resist the conviction 
that Grisel, and afterward Sir Philip, became his converts, though 
as time went on they both "fell back." 

Once more ; On one occasion one of the ladies alluded to 

■ RtcQrdt of the EngKsk Provinct, by Brother Foley, S.J., vol. i. p. 143. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter III. 


held anxious converse with Dr. Feme, who was master of Peter- 
house, Cambridge, when Edward Yelverton, Philip Woodhouse, 
Henry and Edward Walpole were there as undergraduates, and 
died April z6, 1589. Dr. Perne was born at East Bilney, the 
next parish to Rougham, the ancestral seat of the Yelvertons, and 
he had an estate at Pudding Norton in the same neighbourhood. 
He must have known the Yelvertons and Walpoles from their 
childhood. Add to this that Nazareth, wife of Edward Yelvetton, 
was a daughter of Edmund Eedingfeld of Oxburgli ; that Grim- 
ston or Appleton or Sandringham — ^at which places Edward 
Yelverton appears to have hved' between 1588 and iSpG^are 
all within four or five miles of Houghton and Anmer ; 
that the Walpoles both of Houghton and Anmer were appa- 
rently among the first who resorted to Gerard in his new home, 
and one of them at least served Father Gerard as a most 
faithful and devoted "esquire;" that Henry Walpole, as his 
letters show, in 1590 knew all about Gerard's movements in 
Norfolk, and was in direct communication with " Ned Yelverton " 
at the time ; that the Townshends of Rainham, the Cobbs of 
Sandringham, the Bastards of Dunham, the Bozouns of Whisson- 
sett, the Kerviles of Wiggenhall, and many others of less note 
and importance, who figure in the Recusant Rolls, were all within 
a ten miles' ride of Grimston — and the cumulative evidence of 
Edward Yelverton of Grimston . having been Gerard's host and 
protector in Norfolk, becomes so strong as almost to amount to 
a demonstration, 

A. Jessopp, 
Dicimbir 28, 1875. 

' Rccusanl Rolls pcites vie. 

■Hosted by 



1588 and 1589. 

"On my arrival in London,' by the help of certain 
Catholics I discovered Father Henry Garnet, who was then 
Superior. Besides him, the only others of our Society 
then in England were Father Edmund Weston [William 
Weston, commonly called Father Edmunds], confined at 
Wisbech (who, had he been at large, would have been 
Superior), Father Robert Southwell, and we two new- 

" My companion, Father Oldcome, had already arrived, 
so the Superior was rather anxious on my account, as 
nothing had been heard of me ; but yet for that very 
reason hopes were entertained of my safety. It was with 
exceeding joy on both sides that we met at last. I stayed 
some time with the Fathers, and we held frequent consulta- 
tions as to our future proceedings. The good Superior gave 
us excellent instructions as to the method of helping and 
gaining souls, as did also our dear Father Southwell, who 
much excelled in that art, being at once prudent, pious, 
meek, and exceedingly winning. As Christmas [1588] 
was nigh at hand, it was necessary to separate, both for 
the consolation of the faithful, and because the dangers 
are always greater in the great solemnities. 

" I returned then to my friend in the county where I 
was first set ashore. This time the Superior provided me 

' " Falher Oldcotne and he [Falhet Gerard] met at London according lo 
their appointment, and by good hap found the Superior [Father Garnet] then 
in London, though his ordinary abode were then [1588] in Warwickshire, 
almost a hundred miles from London." Father Gerard's Powder Plot, Condition 

Hosted by 


Residence in Norfolk. 55 

with clothes and other necessaries, that I might not be a 
burden to my charitable host at the outset. But after- 
wards, throughout the whole period of my missionary 
labours, the fatherly providence of God supplied both for 
me and for some others. My dress was of the same 
fashion as that of gentlemen of moderate means. The 
necessity of this was shown by reason and subsequent 
events ; for, from my former position, I was more at ease 
in this costume, and could maintain a less embarrassed 
bearing than if I had assumed a character to which I was 
unaccustomed. Then, too, I had to appear in public, and 
meet many Protestant gentlemen, with whom I could not 
have held communication with a view to lead them to a 
love of the faith and a desire of virtue had I not adopted 
this garb. I found it helped me, not only to speak more 
freely and with greater authority, but to remain with 
greater safety, and for a longer interval of time, in any 
place or family to which my host introduced me as his 
friend and acquaintance. 

" Thus it happened that I remained for six or eight 
months [of 1589], with some profit to souls, in the family 
of my first friend and host ; during which time he took 
me with him to nearly every gentleman's house in the 
county. Before the eight months were passed I gained 
over and converted many to the Church ; among whom 
were my host's brother [Chailes], his two sisters [Jane 
Lumner and Grisel Woodhouse] and, later on, his brother- 
in-law [Sir Philip Woodhouse]. One of these two sisters, 
as I have before mentioned, was my friend's house- 
keeper, and had been all along a notable Calvinist. 
Her brother' is a judge, who even now is the 

■ In guibtis erat umis f rater liospitis inei, el sorores duo, el poslia ntaritus 
sororis: giianim una erat ilia vidua qu<s erat in doma ejus ul malerfamilias, el 
erat sane antea itisignis Cabnnista. I!im sorer eiijusdam Judieis, qui partes 
Calvini maxime fare omiiittm OiIhHC tuelur. MS. The Iranslation of the 
latter portion of Ihis ran thus aa originally published, " I reconciled moreover 
the sister of a judge, S;c." This was the chief difficulty in Dr Jessopp's way 

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54 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

most firm support of the Calvinist party.' This lady, 
having been brought up in his house, had been strongly- 
imbued with this heresy. A very remarkable thing 
had happened to her some time previously. Being 
very anxious as to the state of her soul, she went to a 
certain doctor of the University of Cambridge, of the 
name of Perne,^ who she knew had changed his religion 
some three or four times under different sovereigns, 
but yet was in high repute for learning. Going to this 
Doctor Perne, then, who was an intimate friend of her 
family, she conjured him to tell her honestly and un- 
disguiscdly what was the sound orthodox faith whereby 
she might attain Heaven. The doctor finding himself 
thus earnestly appealed to by a woman of discretion and 
good sense, replied, ' I conjure you never to disclose to 
another what I am going to say. Since, then, you have 
pressed me to answer as if I had to give account of your 
soul, I will tell you that you can if j-ou please It^e m tht 
religion now professed by the Queen and her whole 
kingdom, for so you will live more at ease and be exempt 

in iJentifying the family of Father Gerard s hral host The word, of thu 
narrative may be purposely ambiguous in order thit tl e mention of Justice 
Velverton might not betray the family but it may well be taken as we have 
now rendered it. There was a reason why Jane Lumner the widow should 
be called the sislet of Sir Christopher which does not apply to Edward 
) Giisel Lady Woodhouse, for Jane anl Christopher 

children of William Velverton by the first marriage 

and Edward and Gnsel 

ofthesecond. Oni Giniralion. ■^. 151 The or giiial phrase cl foslca manius 
.<ororis, shows us that the brother-in-law was not converted wilhin the eight 
months. No doubt he was Sir Philip Woodhouse, who is described after- 

■ The name Velverton is added in the mai^in. Sir Christopher Velverton 
was at this time Queen's Serjeant, and subsequently Speaker of the House of 
Commons and Puisne Judge of Ihe King's Bench. He died in 1607, though 
(Jeratd, writing at Louvain in 1609, did not know it. His son. Sir Henry 

on. Judge of Ihe Couil 

n Pleas, condemned Father Edmi 

Arrowsmith in 1628, and died a few months after. Father Arrowsmith was 
Father John Gerard's first cousin once removed, the martyr's father, Robert 
ArroB-smith, having marricl Margery Gerard, ihe daughter of Nicholas, 
John Gerard's uncle. 

- Dr. Andrew Perne, Master of Peter-house, Cambridge, and second 
Dean of Ely. 

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Residence in Norfolk. 55 

from all the vexations the Catholics have to undergo ; but 
by no means die out of the faith and communion of the 
Catholic Church if you would save your soul.' Such was 
the answer of this poor man, but such was not his practice ; 
for putting off his conversion from day to day, it fell out 
that, when he least expected, on his return home from 
dining with the pseudo- Archbishop of Canterbury, he 
dropped down dead as he was entering his apartment, 
without the least sign of repentance or of Christian hope 
of that eternal bliss which he had too easily promised to 
himself and to others after a life of a contrary tendency. 
She to whom he gave the above-mentioned advice was 
more fortunate than he, and though she at first by no 
means accepted his estimate of the Catholic faith, yet later 
on, having frequently heard from me that the Catholic 
faith alone was true and holy, she began to have doubts, 
and in consequence brought me an heretical work which 
had served to confirm her in her heresy, and showed me 
the various arguments it contained. I, on the other hand, 
pointed out to her the quibbles, the dishonest quotations 
from Scripture and the Fathers, and the mis-statement of 
facts which the book contained. And so, by God's grace, 
from the scorpion itself was drawn the remedy against the 
scorpion's sting, and she has lived ever since constant in her 
profession of the Catholic faith, to which slie then returned. 
"I must not omit mentioning an instance of the 
wonderful efficacy of the sacraments, as shown in the 
case of the married sister of my host [Lady Wood- 
house]. She had married a man of considerable position, 
and, being favourably inclined to the Church, she had 
been so well prepared by her brother, that it cost 
me but little labour to make her a child of the Catholic 
Church. After her conversion she endured much from 
her husband when he found that she refused to join 
in heretical worship, but her patience withstood and over- 
came all. It happened on one occasion that she was so 

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56 Life of Father John Gerard. 

exhausted after a difficult and dangerous labour, that her 
life was despaired of. A clever physician was at once 
brought from Cambridge, who on seeing her said that he 
could indeed give her medicine, but tliat he could give 
no hopes of her recovery, and having prescribed some 
remedies, he left. I was at that time on a visit to the 
house, having come, as was my wont, with her brother. 
The master of the house was glad to see iis, although he 
well knew we were Catholics, and used in fact to confer 
with mc on religious subjects. I had nearly convinced his 
understanding and judgment, but the will was rooted to 
the earth, 'for he had great possessions.' But being anxious 
for his wife, whom he dearly loved, he allowed his brother 
to persuade him, as there was no longer any hope for her 
present life, to allow her all freedom to prepare for the 
one to come. With his permission, then, we promised to 
bring in an old priest' on the following night; for those 
priests who were ordained before Elizabeth's reign were 
not exposed to such dangers and penalties as the others.^ 

■ Anthony Tyrrcl in September, 1586, names "Redman, alias Redshawe, 
an aged man, made priest in Queen Maiy's time," and " Moore, an old man, 
priest in King Henry's time," as serving the Catliolics in Norfolk. P.R.O., 
Domislit, Elizabeth, vol. cxciii. n. 13. 

■ The Act of the 27th of Elizabeth, under which most of the martyrs were 
put to deatli after the year 15S4, in which it was passed, applied to those who 
were ordained after the feast of St. John the Baptist in Ihc first year of the 
Queen's reign, and thus the Marian priests were exempted from its operation. 
But they fell under the other penal laws, which were severe enough. It was 
high treason by the 1st Elizabeth to maintain the power or jurisdiction of a.ny 
foreign prelate or potentate within these realms, on a third conviclion. By 
the 5th Elizabeth the first conviction brought the penally of frtmuniir, and to 
refuse the oath of supremacy afler such a conviction, or on a second tender of 
the oath was high treason. By the 13th P!;iizabcth, suing for or using Bulls 
from the Bishop of Rome was high treason. By the 23rd Elizabeth with- 
drawing any from the religion established was high treason, and saying Mass 
was punished with a fine of 200 marks and imprisonment. James Bell, who 
sufiered at Lancaster, April zo, 1584, was the only one of the priests of Queen 
Mary's lime who was condemned to death in virtue of these statutes, but their 
names are sometimes found in the prison lists with other priests. Owing to the 
kindness of Canon Toole we are able to give the following interesting extract 
from the register of deaths of Manchester Cathedral, formerly the Collegiate 
Church, " 1581, August 7. Richard Smith, an old pryst. Died in p[ri]son 
in the FIcele for religion." 

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Residence in Norfolk. 57 

We therefore made use of his ministry in order that this 
lady might receive all the rites of the Church. Having 
made her confession and been anointed, she received the 
holy Viaticum ; and, behold, in half an hour's time she so 
far recovered as to be wholly out of danger ; the disease 
and its cause had vanished, and she had only to recover 
her strength. The husband, seeing his wife thus snatched 
from the jaws of death, wished to know the reason. We 
told him that it was one of the effects of the holy 
sacrament of Extreme Unction, that it restored bodily 
health when Divine Wisdom saw that it was expedient 
for the good of the soul. This was the cause of his 
conversion ; for admiring the power and efficacy of the 
sacraments of the true Church, he allowed himself to be 
persuaded to seek in that Church the health of his own 
soul. I, being eager to strike the iron while it was hot, 
began without delay to prepare him for confession ; but 
not wishing just then that he should know me for a priest, 
I said that I would instruct him as I had been instructed 
by priests in my time. He prepared himself, and awaited 
the priest's arrival. His brother-in-law told him that this 
must be at night-time. So, having sent away the servants 
who used to attend him to his chamber, he went into the 
library, where I left him praying, telling him that I would 
return directly with the priest. I went down stairs and 
put on my cassock, and returned so changed in appearance 
that he, never dreaming of any such thing, was speechless 
with amazement. My friend and I showed him that our 
conduct was necessary, not so much in order to avoid 
danger, but in order to cheat the devil and to snatch 
souls from his clutches. He well knew, I said, that I could 
in no other way have conversed with him and his equals, 
and without conversation it was impossible to bring round 
those who were so ill-disposed. The same considerations 
served to dispel all anxieties as to the consequences of my 
sojourn under his roof. I appealed to his own experience, 

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58 Life of Father John Gerard. 

and reminded him that though I had been in continual 
contact with him, he had not once suspected my priestly 
character. He thus became a Catholic ; and his lady, 
grateful to God for this two-fold blessing, perseveres still in 
the faith, and has endured much since that time from the 
hands of heretics. ^ 

" Besides these, I reconciled to the Church during the 
period of my appearance in public more than twenty 
fathers and mothers of families, equal, and some even 
superior, in station to the above mentioned. For prudence' 
sake I omit their names. As for poor persons and servants, 
I received a great many, the exact number I do not re- 
member. It was my good fortune, moreover, to confirm 
many weak and pusillanimous souls, I also received 
numbers of general confessions. Many, too, received at 
that time the inspiration to a more perfect life, among 
whom I may mention the present Father Edward Walpole,^ 
professed of three vows, who was then living a good and 
pious life, and had to endure much for conscience' sake, 
and not from strangers only, 'for his enemies were those 
of his own household.' He was heir to a large estate, but 
his father was a Calvinist, and the rest of his family were 
also heretics. His father at his death disinherited him, 
and divided the estate between his younger brother and 
his mother, who was to hold one-half during her life-time, 
so that his only share was a yearly revenue of four hundred 
florins [40/.], on which he was then living. His father's 
house was less a home than a prison. He lived there without 

' It is clear thai Falher Gerard knew, when he wrote thi?. thai Sir Philip 
Woodhouse had relapsed ; but he did not know that Lady Woodhouse also, 
" on account of the madness of her husband, which very frequently broke oul 
against hei, hod lately fallen from the Church," So het nephew Charles 
Yelverton staled when admitted into the English College at Rome in 1601, 
Ont Giittratioa of a Norfolk House, p. 209- f!i<:ords of the EnglUk Froiints^ 
vol. i. p, 14*- . f , ^ 

' All that i» known about the Walpoles, and among thetn about Edward 
and his cousin Michael, will be found, admirobly told by Dr. Jessopp, in his 
One Gintrathii of a Norfolk House. 

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Residence in Norfolk. 59 

seeing or speaking to any one save at meals ; the rest of 
the day he spent in his room, and he diligently read the 
Fathers and Doctors, as he had already studied humanities 
and philosophy at Cambridge. At that time he began to 
visit me, and to frequent the sacraments. He thus obtained 
that vocation which he followed a year after, when he went 
to Rome and entered the Society. He persuaded his 
cousin, Michael Walpole, who is now professed of the four 
vows, to accompany him. At this period of my story the 
latter was my assistant, and used to go with me as my 
confidential servant to the houses of those gentlemen with 
whom it was necessary for me to maintain such a position. 
The two cousins are now zealous labourers in the Lord's 
vineyard, and by their great abilities have made up for 
what my neglect or mediocrity has marred or left undone. 

"After some six or seven months I received a visit 
from a Catholic gentleman of another county, a relative 
of one of my spiritual children, who was very desirous to 
make acquaintance with a Jesuit. He was a devout young 
man, and heir to a prcttj' considerable estate, one half of 
which came into his possession by his brother's death, the 
other portion being held for life by his mother, who was a 
good Catholic widow lady. Her son Uved with her, and 
they kept a priest in the house. He had then sold a 
portion of the estate, and devoted the proceeds to pious 
uses, for he was fervent and full of charity. After the 
lapse of a few days, as I saw his aspirations to a higher 
life and his desires of perfection wax stronger, I told him 
that there were certain spiritual exercises, by means of 
which a well-disposed person could discover a short road 
to perfection, and be best prepared to make choice of a 
state of life. He most earnestly begged to be allowed to 
make them. I acceded to his request, and he made great 
spiritual profit thereby, not only in that he made the best 
choice, which was that he would enter the Society of 
Jesus as soon as possible, but also because he made the 

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6o Life of Father John Gerard. 

best and most proper arrangements to carry his purpose 
into execution, and to preserve meanwhile his present 
fervour. After his retreat, he expressed the greatest wish 
that I should come and live with him. and I had no rest 
until I proposed to submit the matter for my Superior's 
approval. For mine own part. I could not but reflect that 
my present public mode of life, though in the beginning it 
had its advantages, could not be long continued, because 
the more people I knew, and the more I was known to, 
the less became my safety, and the greater my distractions. 
Hence it was not without acknowledging God's special 
providence that I heard him make me this invitation. So, 
after having consulted with my Superior, and obtained his 
permission to accept the offer, I bade adieu to my old 
friends, and stationed a priest where they might conve- 
niently have recourse to his ministry. He still remains 
there, to the great profit of souls, though in the endurance 
of many perils." 

From an enemy we learn who Father Gerard's second 
host was, and the name of the place where he lived from 
the autumn of 1589 to that of 1591. William Watson. 
the priest who was executed for a plot against James I. 
soon after his accession, had occupied himself in attacking 
the Jesuits, for which he begged their pardon on the 
scaffold. He wrote against them a book that it was 
not penal to publish in England — "A Decacordon 
of ten Quodlibetical Questions concerning Religion and 
State," which was "newly imprinted in 1602." His attack 
on Father Gerard fortunately enables us to identify several 
of the persons who are not mentioned by name in the 
autobiography. This is the case here. "First, Father 
John Gerard was the man that caused Henry Drury to 
enter into this exercise [that is to say, to make a retreat, 
as Father Gerard has told us], and thereby got him to 
sell the manor of Losell in Suffolk and other lands to the 
value of 3,500/., and got all the money himself, the said 

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Residence in Norfolk. 6i 

Drury having chosen to be a lay-brother. Afterwards 
he sent him to Antwerp to have his novitiate by the 
Provincial there, by name Oliverius Manareus (foi- at 
that time Father Garnet had not his full authority to 
admit any), where after twelve or fourteen days he died, 
not without suspicion of some indirect dealing. Father 
Holt the Jesuit ascribed it unto the alteration of his diet, 
saying that he might have lived well enough if he had 
remained at home and not have come thither."' 

We have come across a note^ elsewhere of the use to 
which the proceeds of the sale of Losell were put. " The 
money raised by the sale of the estate of Mr. Drury, when 
he entered the Society, was divided amongst the clergy- 
men in prison or otherwise in want, and among other poor 
Catholics labouring under persecution." In May 1587, 
before Father Gerard's arrival in England, " Henry Drury 
of Lawshull [Losell] in Suffolk, prisoner in the Marshal- 
sea," is mentioned 3 amongst " Common receivers, har- 
bourers and maintainers of Jesuits and Seminary priests." 

' Decacordon, p. 89. This passage, with the exception of the last 
sentence, is quoted in Tke Anatomii B/PofisA TyrannU, by Thomas Bell, the 
apostate priest, which was published in London in 1603 with a dedication to 
Tobie [Matthew, then] Bishop of Durham. This is not the only instance in 
which Bell quotes Watson impetfectiy. 

' A Modest Defence oflkeCkrgy and Rdij^ioits, 1714, p. 11. 
P.R.O., Domestic, Elimbelk, vol. cci. n. 53. 

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"In my new abode I was able to live much more 
quietly and more to my taste, in as much as nearly all 
the members of the household were Catholics ; and thus it 
was easier for me to conform to the manner of life of the 
Society, both as regards dress and arrangement of my 
time ; and moreover I had leisure to pursue my studies. 

"In this house I found some matters which needed 
change or improvement. Among other things, the altar 
furniture was not only antique but antiquated, and by 
no means calculated to excite devotion, but rather to 
extinguish it. But I saw that I must be cautious, lest the 
chaplain, who had been some time in the house, should 
take offence at these changes being introduced by me, 
especially as he could not but notice that the master 
of the house followed my advice in all things. But, by 
God's help, all went off admirably. As for the things that 
required immediate attention, I took care to get the 
master of the house himself to propose and carry them 
through. Then also I showed some church ornaments that 
had been given to me, the beauty of which quite captivated 
the good widow, and made her set about making as good 
for herself But this was not all : the good priest hearing 
the master of the house extol the Spiritual Exercises, 
wished to try them himself for once. He went through 
them with great profit, and frequently declared that until 
he had made them he knew not what was the duty of a 
priest. He conceived moreover a great attachment to 
me, as I afterwards experienced by his alms and the 

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Residence in Suffolk. 6^ 

charity he showed me when I was imprisoned ; he ever 
consulted me in his doubts and difficulties ; he gained 
thrice as many souls as before to God and His Church, 
and was more esteemed of all. When an Archpriest was 
at length elected, he was appointed one of his assistants,' 
and remains so still. 

" While in this residence (and I was there all but two 
years) I gave much time to my studies. At times I 
made missionary excursions, and not only did I reconcile 
many, but I confirmed some Catholic families in the faith, 
and placed two priests in stations where they might be 
useful to souls. I also received many general confessions ; 
among others that of a widow lady of high rank, who for 
the rest of her days applied herself to good works, and 
gave an annual sum of one thousand florins [lOo/.] to the 
Society; another widow gave seven hundred [70/.]" 

Watson names as "gentlewomen, whom Gerard draweth 
to his Exercise," " the Lady Lovel, Mistress Haywood and 
Mistress Wiseman now prisoner," and he adds, " By draw- 
ing Mistress Fortescue, the widow of Master Edmund 
Fortescue. into his Exercise, he got of her a farm worth 
so/, a year and paid her no rent." If Edmund Fortescue's 
widow is probably the second here mentioned by Father 
Gerard, Lady Lovel was almost certainly the first. She 
was Mary Roper, daughter of John, first Lord Teynham, 
the widow of Sir Robert Lovel, and in 1619 she founded 
the monastery of the English Teresian nuns at Antwerp.^ 
Mrs. Elizabeth Vaux, with whom Father Gerard afterwards 
resided, was her sister. 

■ "The names of ihe six first assistants to the Archpriest were these; 
"■ Dr. John Eaven, 2. Dr. Henry Henshaw, 3. Mr. Nicholas Tirwitl, 4. Mr. 
Heniy Shaw, 5. Mr. Geoiiie Birket, 6. Mr. James Slandish." Dr. John 
bonthcote's MS. Note Book, in the possession of the Bishop of Sonlhwark. 
Anthony Tyrtel, just three years before this, reported that the priest at Henry 
IJrurys, was "Hance, alias Draiton, brother Co Hance that suffered," that is 
in all probability, William the brother of Everard Hanse, who was martyred 
M Tyburn July 31, 1581. V.^O.,DomtsHc, Eli2abttk,so\ <M\i\.T.. 13. 

' Aft English Carmelite: Life of Catharine Button, by Father Thomas 
Hunter, S.J. London, i8?6, p. 6. Trouhla, First Series, p. 255. 

■jHosted by 


64 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Here it may be well to arrest the narrative for a 
moment, in order to anticipate a criticism that may be 
made on this and similar passages of Gerard's auto- 
biography. Nothing could be easier than to say, in the 
spirit of the writers of the "Decacordon" and of the 
"Anatomie of Popish Tyrannie," that Father Gerard's 
object was money, and that he records his success osten- 
tatiously^ a hundred pounds here, seventy pounds there. 
But it must be remembered that we have before us in 
the autobiography we are printing, a private and con- 
fidential report, written for his Superiors, who wished 
to understand exactly how the difficult and secret work 
of the English mission was carried on. This is why 
Father Gerard shows where the money came from. 

That those should have given freely of their substance, 
who held their lives cheap in comparison with the work of 
restoring the Catholic faith that they themselves tena- 
ciously and fervently retained, is not surprising, " Is not 
the fife more than the meat, and the body more than the 
raiment ? " The life of every one who harboured a priest 
was forfeited to the law. It was but natural that those 
who sheltered the priest should forward his work. Those 
who gave him hospitality at the risk of being hanged 
for it, are not likely to have begrudged him clothes to 
wear and horses to ride, that he might go where he 
was needed and mix in society without suspicion. When 
it was only as a gentleman that the priest could do 
the work that he had come to do, those that longed to 
see it done, took care that he went forth to it appointed as 
a gentleman. 

The cost must have been enormous which in those 
days the wealthy Catholics had to meet, especially of those 
expenses that were defrayed by a systematic oi^anizatlon 
like the Society. In a few lines further on Father Gerard 
says that Father Garnet was obliged to have two or 
three houses always ready where his subjects might be 

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Residence in Suffolk. ge 

sure to find him; and no wonder, for at a moment's 
notice the pursuivants might be upon him and he would 
require immediate shelter. A large sum might be expended 
upon a house and all its hiding places prepared, and 
suddenly it might have to be abandoned, owing to some 
act of treachery to which the Catholics were continually 
exposed. Then there was provision to be made of 
" Church stufT" and Catholic books. Books were neces- 
sarily dear,! fof f^^ ^^^ p,j„,^j ^^ ^^^ Continent, and 
were seized wholesale. Church vestmeMs and altar furni- 
ture are costly things, and they had to be constantly 
replaced, for sometimes they were swept away in searches 
a cartload at a time. The maintenance of the confessors 
in prison, who had to pay largely to their gaolers for 
exemption from the squalid miseries of the common prison, 
was a constant and very heavy charge to be defrayed, 
as in the days of the Roman persecutions, by their brethren 
m the faith. And the supply of future clergy had to 
be looked to, and promising boys were sent over to 
the seminaries to be trained for the priesthood, always 
at great expense. The missionaries were in duty bound 
to urge on the faithful to be liberal in their almsgiving, 
and to give something more than their superfluities. They 
spoke to willing ears, and nothing could have been nobler 
than the way in which the wealthy Catholics showed that 
they held their goods, as well as their lives, for the service 
of God. Watson and Bell and similar spirits delighted to 
attribute this generous devotion to "the Exercise," as if 
the Exercises of St. Ignatius contained what they called 
" cozenage" Father Gerard would not have denied the power 

rr, ' '^ ?''^' *''''*^ '^'^^ ^^' "^' '^ """">■ Ol'i Testament "sold 
40^. which at ttQ ordinaiy price might be alforded forio ;" the Rheims 
■IT I^"' " '"° "■°''' '" ■' "' »•■ »'■'''> "SM l" ■«"«"1«1 '»' " 
Si 2j^' " '"" ' " "' ""' " "»» " "M '»' '"■ »M* "Is" »•" 
" 1^ r '' ' " ^'- AaeitsUne's Confessions, translated by Toby Matthew, 

sold forilb. being bnt a liule book in 8vo and might be aflbrded for aj. &/." 
itie I'seudo.Scnptmist by Father Norris, S.J.. " a book of some II sheets of 
paper and sold for 5,.- Fm .« ./Ih, Sw,r,, by John Gee, .624. 

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66 Life of Father John. Gerard. 

of the Exercises to induce the resolution to. " make friends 
of the mammon of Iniquity ; " but this, as all who have 
followed the Exercises of St Ignatius know by experience, 
is only because the eternal truths assert themselves with 
unparalleled force in the meditations of the Exercises. On 
the subject of almsgiving St. Ignatius proposes three 
rules,' and they are characteristically sober — " Do as you 
would advise a stranger to do for the greater glory of 
God : Observe the form and measure in your alms that 
you would wish you had observed when you come to die : 
Take that rule which at the Day of Judgment you would 
wish you had taken." All the " cozenage " is in these 
simple rules, and in the conclusion drawn by St. Ignatius 
that " in every state of life, due proportion kept, he is 
better and safer who the most restrains himself and 
diminishes his expenditure on himself and the state 
of his household, and most nearly approaches to our 
High Priest, Example and Rule, Christ our Lord." 
In other countries at this time wealthy Catholics were 
founding and endowing Colleges, as they had founded and 
endowed monasteries in former generations ; it was but 
natural that in England those who were touched by the 
sense of the eternal truths should give freely of their 
wealth to promote the missionary work on which the 
salvation of so many souls and the future of the country 
manifestly depended. 

Father Gerard therefore continues in the same strain, 
but he speaks of nobler sacrifices than money. " At the 
same time I gave the Spiritual Exercises to some with 
considerable benefit First I had two gentlemen who 
were related to each other ; they both resolved to enter 
the Society, and after they had settled their affairs, they 
went to France, where, having finished their studies, one 
of them, Father Thomas Everett, was admitted [into the 
Society], and is now a zealous labourer in the English 
■ Extrcit, S^t. Regulte pro distribuendit eleemosynis. 

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Residence in Suffolk. 67 

Mission ; the second took priest's orders, but being rather 
pusillanimous wished first to return to England, and ill 
came of it." 

Father Thomas Everett, more usually called Everard, 
entered the Society at Tournay on the 4th of June, 1593, 
having been ordained priest in the September of the pre- 
vious year. After forty years of religious life he died in 
the odour of sanctity at the age of seventy-three. He 
was several times imprisoned, and more than once sent 
into exile. Towards the end of his autobiography Father 
Gerard narrates two anecdotes of this Father's missionary 

Father Everard's relative is not named by Father 
Gerard, and the language of the original respecting him 
seems studiously obscure ; but by Watson's help he is 
easily identified. " Two other," he says, " had the Exer- 
cise given them at that time by Father Gerard, viz.. Master 
Anthony Rowse, of whom he got above 1,000/., and Master 
Thomas Everard. of whom he had many good books and 
other things." Father Gerard's obscurity of language is 
owing to the fact that Anthony Rowse abandoned the 
Catholic religion, and became a spy and betrayer of 
his brethren. He was the cause of the apprehension 
of the martyr Father Thomas Garnet, S.J., in 1607. It 
IS Instructive to observe that in his case, as in that of 
several other apostates, he had much to suffer before he 
felL He was in Newgate^ in February, 159!, and he was 
banished in i6o6.3 A neighbour in Suffolk, "Mr. Michael 
Hare, gave land which was sold for 300/, with obligation 
of paying the rent of it to Mn Rowse in case of his re- 
pentance. The rent was twenty marks a year, which 
Rowse enjoyed for many years. After his death it was 
given for the use of some of the Society helping the poor 
. ' "^^ documents relating to Father Tlionias Everard will be found col- 
lected in Brother Foley's Ricsrd! of tki English Pravind, vol ii. p. 39?. 
Trouble, Second Series, p. 2??, note. 
^ Challonet's Missionary PritsU, vol. ii. p. 39. 

Hosted by 


68 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Catholics in Suffolk or Norfolk."' This act of charity 
enables us to know that the poor man repented and 
persevered for many years. His mother, " widow Rowse," 
is named by Tyrrell with the best Catholic families of the 
eastern counties, among whom we find Michael Hare of 
Brustyard Everatt, the Drurys of Losell, the Rookwoods 
of Coidham Hail, Lady Lovel, and others with whom 
Father Gerard was in communication.^ 

We now come to the first mention of a family whose 
name will often recur in these pages. The Wisemans of 
Braddocks, in the parish of Wimbish in Essex, the elder 
branch of an ancient stock, are closely associated with the 

' Records cfthi English Province, vol. ii. p. 483. 

= Treabla, Second Series, p. 365. The name appears in Ihe following 
inslnictive list of "Siunspaid b/ Recusants " from Miciiaeltnas to March 10, 
1594-5. P.R.O., Domeslii:, EHzabeth, vol. ccli. n. 53. 

"Norfolk, Edmund Townsend 28/. 

Robert Lovel 16/. iji. 41/. 

Edward Yelverton tooi. 

Hninphrey Bedingfeld 501. 

George Willoughby lot. 

John Yaxley 10/. 

Humphrey Bedingfeld 18/. zs. ^d. 

Eliza Bedingfeld 6/. I3J-. a^. 

Robert Gray 

... 59^.4-9^. 


... V. 

Walter Norton, dec. 

... 18/. fo. &f. 

Robert Downes 

... 49/. 10^.4^. 

Henry KaiT'ile 

,., 36;. i3i.5rf. 

Ferdinando Paris 

... 120/. 

John Bedingfeld 

... % 13^- ¥■ 

Michael Hare 

... 140/. 

Henry Everard 

... 16/. igs. &f. 

■William Mannock 

... 1U.Ss.4d. 

Eva Yaxley 

... loi. us. Sd. 

Robert Jeller 

... 19/. 18/. Id. 


... 38/. us. Id. 

John and WillUm Daniell ... 

... 15/. 

Robert Rookwood 

... 51/. 71. 3rf. 

Robert Gray 

... 11/. 8r. lod. 

Edward Rookwood 

... t20i. 



Henry Hulbert 

26s. Sd. 

Edward Suliard 

... 140/. 

Anne Rowse 

... 30!. 

Hosted by 


Residence in Suffolk. gg 

3ife of Father John Gerard for a very considerable time. 
In the autumn of 1591, to which period we have now 
arrived, the family consisted of the mother, Jane, widow of 
Thomas Wiseman, whose maiden name was Vaughan ; 
William, the eldest son, and his wife Jane, the daughter 
of Sir Edmund Huddlestone ; three other sons, Thomas, 
John, and Robert ; and four daughters, Anne and Barbara, 
then at Rouen among the English Nuns of Sion, and 
Jane or Mary and Bridget, who were still at home. 

Father Gerard first speaks of the two younger sons 
Thomas and John. Of John we know nothing more than 
Father Gerard tells, but Thomas is mentioned several 
times in the State Papers. In 1586 he went with his 
elder brother on a pilgrimage to St. Winifred's Well, and 
thus passing through Chester fell into the hands of a great 
persecutor of Catholics, William Chadderton, the Pro- 
testant bishop. Edmund GarnuII, Mayor of Chester, 
writing' to Sir Francis Walsingham, September 5, 1586, 
about some pirates that were hindering ships from leaving 
Chester and Liverpool for Ireland, adds, " I have likewise 
thought it my duty to signify unto your honour that two 
gentlemen naming themselves Wiseman, being brethren, 
and born in Essex and coming thence (as they affirmed), 
were brought before me and the Lord Bishop of this 
diocese the last week, who alleged to have none other 
occasion to travel into these parts than occasioned to 
Hallywell [Holywell] to seek for ease of some infirmity 
wherewith they was detained ; and therefore, and in that 
we suspected their conformity in matters of religion, we 
sent them both to the Earl of Derby, whereof I have 
thought it my duty to advertise your honour." 

A little later on in the year the two brothers appear 
m London in a " List of Bonds."^ "November 17, 1586. 
Thomas Wiseman of Winsbyshe in the county of Essex, 

■ P.R.O., Domestic, EUmidh, vol. cxciii. n. 14. 
' Ibid. voi. cc. n, 59; vol. ccv. n. rj. 

■Hosted by 


70 Life of Father John Gerard. 

gentleman, bound in the sum of 50/. with a surety, to be 
at any time forthcoming within three days' warning being 
given at Richard Wiseman's house in St. Laurence's, 
Poultry, in London. November 17, 1586. William Wise- 
man, of the same town and county, bound as abovesaid 
to be forthcoming within three days' warning." 

Leaving William Wiseman for a short time, we turn 
to Father Gerard's account of the two younger brothers 
Thomas and John. "I also gave a retreat to two fine 
young men who were brothers, who both came to 
the resolution of entering the Society. One of them 
[Thomas Wiseman] had gone through his course of 
humanities and philosophy at Cambridge, and had 
been a law-student in London for nine years, and being 
very clever and indefatigable in his application to study, 
he made such progress that I have known competent 
judges to rank an opinion of his as high as that of any 
of the most celebrated lawyers, whether of past or present 
times. He was so prudent and grave in his bearing, that 
Father Southwell said to me, at a time when the young 
man himself had never dreamt of changing his state, that 
if he had a vocation to our body none would be so fit 
for government as he. By the advice, then, of my host 
[Henry Drury of Losell], who was an intimate friend of 
theirs, they placed themselves under my direction and 
went into retreat. The younger brother [John] met with no 
obstacle whatever ; but the elder during the first week 
was in a state of complete dryness. He afterwards found 
out the reason thereof, and removed it. I had counselled 
him to adopt certain regulations for the treatment of his 
body, which were comparatively unimportant, and, as he 
objected on the score of health, I yielded ; but afterwards 
deeming this reluctance of his, though in a slight matter, 
a hindrance to God's grace, one day as I visited him to 
exhort and console him under his desolation, he threw 
himself at my feet, and, begging pardon, refused to rise 

Hosted by 


Residence in Suffolk. IT- 

until in token of full forgiveness I would allow him to 
kiss my feet. After that he was ever overflowing with 
consolation, and a light arose in his heart which showed 
him so clearly the way wherein he should walk, that there 
was no room left for doubt. Hence, though he had much 
to do both with his own affairs and the business of others 
before he could leave England, and had determined to 
sell his estate, so as to preclude all desire of returning, 
with such wonderful rapidity did he settle it all, that 
within five or six weeks he had started with his brother 
for Rome. Before his departure, among other alms-deeds, 
he gave to the Society from eleven thousand to twelve 
thousand florins [l,ioo/. to i,20o/.]. 

« This was a mark of God's special care for the Society 
at the period it began to increase in England ; for shortly 
after the capture of Father Southwell [June 30, 1592], who 
was wont to reside in London, Father Garnet was obliged 
to take up his abode in that city that he might the more 
easily communicate with all our people, who were widely 
scattered, and might himself be in a more central position, 
and more easy of general access. But this entailed great 
expense, for as the persecution was more violent there 
than elsewhere, it was necessary that he should have two 
or three houses always ready for his use, and therefore- 
kept up at his own expense. But at that time we had 
few friends whose hands were open to supply our general 
wants. Father Southwell, while he was with us, had 
indeed a great benefactress [Anne, Countess of Arundel], 
by whose liberality he maintained himself and other 
priests, and kept a private house wherein he usually 
received the Superior when the latter came to London. 
It was here that I first saw them both ; and here also 
he kept a private printing press, whence issued his incom- 
parable works. But after we had lost Father Southwell, 
the Society would have been reduced to great straits if God 
had not called those two persons of whom I have spoken 

Hosted by 


72 Life of Father John Gerard. 

to our assistance, to wit, the young law-student I have just 

mentioned [Thomas Wiseman], and my host [Henry Drury], 
who bestowed nearly one half of his goods upon our Society. 
" The two brothers, on their arrival in Rome, went to 
the novitiate of SL Andrew's [on the Quirinal] without 
delay ; they completed their training under the names of 
Starkie and Standish, which they assumed as a remem- 
brance of me, for under these I passed in the first and 
second county where I took up my residence. The 
younger of the two died holily (as I heard) at St 
Andrew's ; the elder, while pursuing his studies in the 
Roman College, being perhaps somewhat indiscreet in 
his fervour, fell into consumption, and coming some time 
after to Belgium, died at St. Omers, to the great regret 
but no less to the edification of all who knew him. 

" Besides these, I gave the Spiritual Exercises to some 
others ; who drew thence fruits of conversion and amend- 
ment of life. Two of their number were among the 
leading Catholics of the county ; one of them got as far 
as the last day but one of the second week without any 
spiritual motion, but at that time the south wind, so to 
speak, blew over his garden, and elicited such copious 
showers of tears, that for three or four days he could not 
refrain from weeping ; even when his affairs forced him 
to go out for a time, he could scarce speak to any one 
but in a broken voice with sobs ; and he followed me 
about weeping, like a child one year old, so that the 
chaplain, whom I have mentioned above, was wont there- 
after to call him 'the weeper,' and to write about him — 
'John the weeper wants this or that,' or — 'makes you 
a present of so and so.' This gentleman abounded hence- 
forth in good works, and died most happily. 

"About the same time, I persuaded another of the 

Walpole family, Christopher' byname, to leave Cambridge. 

• Christopher Walpole entered Ihe English College at Rome, Feb. 22, 

1592, and was admitted into the Society Sept. 27 in the same year. He died 

at Valladolid in 1606. One Cmeratian of a Nor/oik House, p. 298. 

Hosted by 


Residence in Suffolk. 73 

I supplied him witli a provision for the journey, and sent 
him to Rome ; where, having completed his studies, he 
entered the Society and was made a priest He was sent 
into Spain, and died there, to the great sorrow of all, and 
the great disadvantage of his country." 

The date of these retreats and vocations is shown us 
by the following extract from a letter" of Father Henry 
Walpole, the martyr, from Brussels, to Father Holt at the 
English College at Rome, dated August 22, 1S91. "I 
send you herewith two blanks [letters, apparently blank 
paper] from Mr. J. Gerard, the one for yourself, the other 
for Mr. Per[sons], that is Peckara. You must put them m 
fear of the fire to make them speak [that is, being written 
in orange juice, you must heat them in order to read 
them]. I suppose he hath written in commendation of 
them who desire to be 222 Qesuit'], and came directed 
over to the purpose. Two be very virtuous gentlemen 
[Thomas and John Wiseman], and one of them a singular 
benefactor. They expect means to live (if it may be made 
over) of themselves. The third [Christopher Walpole] is 
my brother, who hath spent two years in your Seminary, 
able to begin his course. I hope he will do as well as 
the others. I wish them with you, if not to the great 
charge of the College." 

The spies kept their eyes on Thomas Wiseman, but of 
John his brother they seem to have known nothing. Thus 
in a " Note of such as are known to be beyond the seas 
and of their friends in England, as near as is known,"3 we 
have: "Thomas Wiseman, son of Mrs. Jane Wiseman of 
Wimbish in Essex. Thomas is a Jesuit at Rome, and 
two of her daughters that are nuns, and two more of her 

. Stonytuot MSS., A^glia A. vol. 1. i.. 5», rfiW by Dr. Ja»opp in Ibt 
Lrtltrs af Henry Walpoii. 

' In Father Baldwin's cypher " 229 " was "Jesuit." Tlie letter will be 
found later. „„ 

a P.R.O., Dominie, EiiMitli, vol. ccaix. n. 77 ; mconectly dated 1588 
in the Calendar. 

Hosled by 


74 Life of Father John Gerard. 

daughters that went over lately, and [had] Father Edmund's 
[William Weston's] blessing before they went." 

Thomas, " who had been a law-student in London for 
nine years," had been a zealous Catholic for some time 
before he made his retreat under Father Gerard, so that 
a priest on his landing in England would be sure of a 
welcome from him. James Young, a priest, whose aliases 
were Geoi^e Dingley and Thomas Christopher, stated' 
when examined by Lord Keeper Puckering on the 27th 
of August, 1592, that "this examinate at his first coming 
to London after his landing came to Thomas Wiseman's 
lodging at Garnet's Rents in Lincoln's Inn Field, being 
not sent to him by any man, but hearing one Ireland an 
Englishman at Civyll [Seville] give the said Roberts a 
token to go to the said Wiseman by, viz., that when Ireland 
went last from him they brake a cake between them ; and 
by this token this examinate went to Wiseman, who 
received him and gave this examinate his diet and lodging 
for two or three nights in his lodgings at Garnet's Rents, 
during which time no persons repaired to him there, nor 
did he say any mass there then. But from thence this 
examinate departed to my Lady Throckmorton to her 
house (as he thinketh called Ripton) near Stebnethe 
[Stepney] within three or four days of his coming to 
London first as aforesaid, and there made her acquainted 
that he was a priest, as the said Wiseman had before let 
her understand, and then tarried with her about a month, 
being kept there very secret in a chamber, having his diet 
brought by one Jane her maid and by no other body ; and 
this examinate, in a chamber in the house at the end of a 
gallery, did often say mass to my Lady Throckmorton and 
her maid, and my lady helped to say mass [that is, served 
mass], and the said lady at this examinate's departure gave 
him twenty marks, and sent him to Mr. Mompesson, a 
gentleman living at Clerkenwell, under pretence to be 
■ P.R.O., Domestic, EHsabelh, vol. ccxlii. n. 122. 

Hosted by 


Residence in Suffolk. 75 

tabled [boarded] there, and to make way for marriage 
with a young gentlewoman there called Temperance 
Davys ; and the examinate stayed there till Chnstmas 
after during which time he said mass to Mrs. Mompesson 
every Sunday, and one other named Patenson," bemg a 
priest and since executed, said mass to the rest of the 
household, at whose masses Mr. Mompesson would stand 
behind the door to hear the masses and not to be seen of 
his servants, as though the master had not known Patenson 
to be a priest. And there repaired to this examinate while 
he was there one James Jackson of the Bishopric of 
Durham, and one Ffayrbek of Durham, and no more ; and 
they well knew that this examinate was a priest, and 
persuaded this examinate to go down into the north and 
there to exercise his function, rather than here, being a 
dangerous place ; and being a search made at that house, 
this examinate escaped out [of] a back door, and went to 
Mr. Wiseman to Garnet's Rents and told him what had 
happened, and tarried with him that night ; who sent him 
to Coles a schoolmaster at the upper end of Holborn, where 
he this examinate stayed till Easter week last was passed ; 
to whom during that time repaired one Mr. Stampe (as he 
thinks of Derbyshire). And this examinate did often in 
that time say mass to the said Coles and his wife, and to 
the said Mr, Stampe, and one Mrs. Mary Felton, dwelling 
at Hyegate [Highgate]. And this examinate further saith 
that he said mass often to Mr. Wiseman in his chamber 
upon the Sundays, none being present but his servant 
called WiUiam Smythe, a little man ; and yet he temem- 
bercth that Mrs. Mary Best, dwelling in Fetter-lane, came 
twice to mass to Mr, Wiseman's house, and heard mass, the 
said Mr. Wiseman, whom she called cousin, being present. 
And he saith that Mr. Wiseman about Christmas last 
delivered to this examinate keys of his lodging to come 
in at all rimes at his pleasure, and the same keys being 
■ Vtfilliim Patenson was martyr,;d at Tyburn, Jan. 22, 159 J. 

Hosled by 


76 Life of Father fokn Gerard. 

found about this examinate when he was apprehended, he 
sent Mr. Wiseman word thereof, wishing him to alter the 
locks presently, that it might not be known to what locks 
those keys served. He saith that one Mush a priest met 
this examinate in Gray's Inn Fields and told this exami- 
nate that they should both dine at Mr. Wiseman's that 
day, but this examinate was apprehended before he could 
come to Mr, Wiseman's. And the said Mush and one 
Bell • also a priest (who goeth as Mush's man) are gone 
down into Yorkshire, and thinketh he will remain there 
about York, but at whose houses he never heard him tell ; 
but Mush said to him that he had been much thereabouts, 
and that the gentlemen were much fallen off, but that the 
gentlewomen stood steadfastly to it. 

"This examinate, being asked what Jesuit or priests he 
knoweth, saith he knoweth all that have come from Rome 
these seven years, as, namely, one Oldcorne, Cowper, 
Garret [Gerard], Southwell, Holtby, and divers others 
which this examinate knoweth if he see them and will 
endeavour himself to call their names to his remembrance. 
The said Cowper was with this examinate at Clerkenwell 
at Mr. Mompesson's, that he resorteth much about the 
Tower hill, but to what place he knoweth not. 

" He saith that the Smythe, whom he named in his 
letter to Mary Best to help him to his apparel, and to 
let his friends know his want, was William Smythe, Mr. 
Wiseman's man, and the young gentleman that should see 
it conveyed without danger, so mentioned in his letter, he 
meant to be the same Mr. Wiseman. And for Jones, that 
should be his bail, with Sergeant Lloyd, whom Jones also 
procured, this examinate had no acquaintance with either 
of them, but that by means of another prisoner in the 
■ John Mush was Ihe author of Mrs. Clilherow's life, and probably also of 
Ihe "Yorkshire Recusant's Relation," TVohWsj, Third Series, pp. 85, 360. 
Thomas Bell became a spy. Ibid, p. 300. See Ihe Queen's letter from 
Hampton Court to the Earl of Derby, Oct. 30, 1592. Lord Derby's report 
says ! " Bell's repair to his lordship and conversation being generally known, 
bred suspicion." P.R.O., Domestic, Elizabith, vol. ccxliiL nn. 51, 71, 

Hosted by 


Residence in Suffolk. 77 

Counter, Jones was content for twenty marks to procure 
him bail." 

In a letter* written on the day of this examination. 
Young says: "Remembering a token which I heard 
Father Persons speak of to one of them who came like 
galley slaves [this was the way in which some of the party 
of students to which Young belonged left Seville], I 
enquired for one Thomas Wiseman about the Inns of 
Court, with whom at last I met." And further on : "Cole 
being called into trouble a little before Easter last, I was 
again forced to repair to Wiseman, with whom yet I could 
not continue because he was to ride out of the city. Then 
I lay at an inn, at the White Swan at Holbom bridge, 
where I remained till my apprehension and bringing before 
Mr. Young at the beginning of Easter term last, and ever 
since have been prisoner in the Poultry." 

It would seem from this that Thomas Wiseman did 
not go straight to Rome after seeing Father Walpole in 
Brussels in August, iSQ'. but returned to London perhaps 
to settle his money matters. In 1592 Easter day was 
March 26th, and by the 26th of May Thomas Wiseman 
and his brother John were at Rome safe in the Novitiate 
at St. Andrew's on the Quirinal. From a record^ of them 
among the Stonyhurst manuscripts, we learn not only that 
Thomas took the surname of Starkey, and John that of 
Standish, out of affection to Father Gerard, but that they 
changed their Christian names also, Thomas calling himself 
William, after their elder brother, and John changing his 
name to that of their remaining brother Robert. They 
were respectively twenty-four and twenty-one years old 
when they thus entered the Society, and the record adds 
that Thomas died at St Omers in i yfo and John in the 
Novitiate in 1592- 

■ P.R.O., Domestic, Etinahith, vol. cexlii, n. iii. 
» " Admissi Rom^ in domo probationis S. Andres. 
" 1591, Gulielmus Starcheias alias Wiseman, a6 Mail, ait. »4. '^ Angua- 
Obiil Audomari 1596. 

.■ Robertus Standish alias Wiseman, 16 Man, »t ai, ex AngUi. 

Oblit in Ngviliatu 1592." 

Hosted by 




" The elder of the above-mentioned brothers ' [Thomas 
Wiseman], before he left England, succeeded in persuading 
his eldest brother [William], over whom he had great 
influence, to make a trial of the Spiritual Exercises. This 
gentleman was indeed a Catholic, but without the least 
care for Christian perfection. He had lately come to his 
estate, on the death of his father, and had made himself a 
large deer-park in it. There he lived like a king, in ease 
and independence, surrounded by his children, to whom, 
as well as to his wife, he was tenderly attached. As he 
kept clear of priests from the seminaries he lived un- 
molested, feeling nothing of the burden and heat of the 
day, for the persecutors troubled chiefly those who har- 
boured the Seminarists, not caring to inquire after those 
who kept the old priests, that is, those who had taken 
orders before the reign of Elizabeth. So now-a-days a 
great difference is made between seculars and the priests 
of the Society, the persecution being much fiercer against 
ours and our friends, as may be seen from what occurs 
when those who afford us comfort and shelter are dis- 
covered. The cause of this I take to be that seeing our 
numbers increase, and seeing that some of the other priests 
have opposed themselves to us, the authorities try to crush 
first the most uncompromising party, and to deter our 
friends by terrible examples from sheltering and supporting 

■ Dr. Oliver, in his ColUctama (under the name Walpole Edwar<5f, 
mistakenly undeislanda Ihis to refer to the Walpole brothers, and speaks of 
the gentleman here mentioned as (he eldest brother of the Walpoles. This is 
proved to be an enor hy the context. 

Hosted by 


The Wisemans of Braddocks. 79 

M. But the Israelites increased, despite tlie rage of Pharao 
who sought their lives. 

"This good gentleman, then, who Uved in calm and 
safety in his house and possessions, and evaded so 
cautiously the wiles of the persecutor, perceived not and 
dreaded not enough the wiles of Satan; yet he did not 
escape the toils of God's grace, but came to them wilhngly, 
and once taken wished not to be free. On the third day 
of the Exercises, after having well pondered the purpose 
of God in creating him and all other things, feeling the 
stirring of the waters, he went down into the pool and 
was healed. He succeeded admirably in each meditation, 
as the resolutions he made and the lights vouchsafed to 
him proved. He left nothing within or without which he 
did not strive to rectify and order unto God's greater 
glory ■ he resolved no longer to enjoy, but only to use all 
created things, and that sparingly; to govern his house- 
hold as a charge committed unto him by God, and to get 
two other priests, one of whom he insisted should be a 
Jesuit, to whom he would commit the direction of himself 
and of all belonging to him. He further purposed to 
spend his leisure hours in pious reading, or m the transla- 
tion of spiritual books For he was learned and able, and 
did afterwards publish many such translations, among 
others the Life of our Blessed Father, Tke Duologues oi 
St Gregory the Great, Father Jerome Flatus' work on the 
Advantag,. of the Religious Stale, and others of the same 
kind He set himWlf very useful rules of conversation, 
not only for his personal direction, but in order to brotherly 
correction and the encouragement of virtue in his neigh- 
bours. , 

"Such were his resolutions; such too was his sub- 
sequent practice. From the first he expected an obstacle, 
which he could not but foresee. His servants were heretics 
for the most part, and he could not hope that his wife 
would second his plans. Again, he had as chaplam one 

Hosted by 


So Life of Father John Gerard. 

of the old priests, and these were not often wont to agree 
with younger men, especially with those of the Society, 
whom they looked upon as troublesome reformers. He 
could not then but be anxious. But having, through 
God's goodness, conceived a firm and practical resolution, 
he determined to dismiss his servants in a kindly and 
open-handed way, and to take good Catholics in their 
stead ; to prevail over the opposition of his lady and the 
chaplain if possible by reason and affection, but should 
these fail, to show that he was master of the family, and 
to make use of the authority given him by God. 

"This being settled, he began to urge me with all 
earnestness to come and take up my abode with him, 
alleging reasons that I could not fairly meet. Moreover, 
at that time my host [Henry Drury], for whose sake espe- 
cially I had come to my present abode, was preparing to 
depart, for Father Garnet had settled that he should come 
and live with him in London until he could be sent abroad, 
and the good priest I found there was well able to admi- 
nister to the spiritual wants of this gentleman's mother. 
Another advantage of this proposed change was that it 
brought me nearer to London, and placed me in a family 
where I could do much more good than in my present 
abode after the departure of my host. I submitted all 
these considerations to the judgment of my Superior, with 
whom I was going to leave my hospitable friend [Henry 
Drury] after I had introduced him. As Father Garnet 
approved my availing myself of this new opportunity 
which God's providence had offered me, I accepted the 
invitation, and after a couple of months I went to my new 
dwelling [early in the year 15^], having taken care, in 
order to escape odium and jealousy, to get my host to 
inaugurate his improvements, so far as could be done, 
before my arrival, so that he, and not I might appear to 
be the prime mover. 

"We procured then a staff of good and faithful 

Hosted by 


The Wisemans of Braddocks. 8i 

domestics, whom I had formerly known in other places, 
and whose characters I had proved. Nor did I find it so 
difficult as we had feared, to bring the lady of the house 
[Jane, daughter of Sir Edmund Huddlestone], and the old 
priest to consent to the changes. Far from opposing, they 
furthered my views ; the wife especially outshone all the 
household in her zeal for the decoration of the altar, 
and the charity she showed to my wants. This lady 
was of a rather quick temper, and had great difficulty 
in observing the rules of patience with her servants and 
others, yet I never let any such fault pass without either 
private or (if the nature of the case required it) public 
notice and reproof. This I never omitted during the 
whole of my stay with this family, but this notwithstanding, 
she not only bore with me cheerfully, and tried to subdue 
her temper, but ever showed me fresh marks of attach- 
ment and respect, as will appear in the sequel. 

"As to the chaplain, when he saw that after my 
arrival he and all that belonged to him were placed on a 
better footing, he not only became friendly, but both by 
word and deed repeatedly showed his satisfaction at my 
coming. For the increase of piety and devotion in the 
household had wrought a corresponding increase of 
reverence for him, and he gained many other advantages 
which he had not had before; and though all things 
were arranged in the house in accordance with my 
advice, yet he found that his own influence had increased 
rather than otherwise. 

"In this house there was living my host's mother 
[Jane Wiseman] a most excellent widow lady, happy in 
her children, but still happier in her private virtues. She 
had four sons and daughters. These latter without excep- 
tion devoted their virginity to God. Two [Anne and 
Barbara Wiseman] had already joined the holy order 
of St. Bridget before my arrival, and one of these [Bar- 
bara] is even at this day Abbess in Lisbon. I sent 

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82 Life of Father John Gerard. 

the two others [Jane or Mary and Bridget] to Flanders, 
where they still serve God in the order of St. Augustine 
[at Louvain]. Her sons were all pious young men ; two 
[Thomas and John] died in the Society, as was related 
above ; a third [Robert] chose the army, and was lately 
slain in a battle with the heretics in Belgium, — he fell 
fighting when many around him had surrendered ; the 
fourth [William] was the master of that house, who, to his 
mother's great joy, had given himself up to every good 
work. Such was this good widow's fervour, that she 
deemed herself to have attained the summit of her desires 
in this world. 

" At my first entrance into this house, she desired her 
son to bring me up to her chamber; as I came in she 
fell at my feet, and besought me to allow her to kiss 
them, saying I was the first of the Society she had seen ; 
as I refused, she kissed the ground on which I stood, and 
arose filled with a holy joy, which still abides in her: 
and now, living apart from her son, she maintains with 
her two priests of our Society, having in the meantime 
endured a great many tribulations, which shall be related 

The chaplain at Braddocks was probably Richard 
Jackson, of whom, some years earlier, Anthony Tyrrell" 
gave information. "Jackson, priest in Queen Mary's 
time, [resorts to] Michael Hare of Brusiard at Acton." 
This was in 1586! In a paper endorsed " Massmongers " 
in the Public Record Office^ are given two forms of 
indictment, dated Jan. 12, isg|, by which time Father 
Gerard had made Braddocks his head-quarters for a twelve- 
month. The first is against Richard Jackson of Wimbish 
in the county of Essex, clerk, for having said mass at 
Wimbish on the 2Sth of August, 34° Eliz. [1592], and 
against William Wiseman of Wimbish, esquire, Jane Wise- 

■ F.R.O., Domatk, Elizakth, vol. cxciil. n. 13. 
' ibid., vol. cciliv. n. 7. 

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The Wisemans of Braddocks. 83 

man his wife, John Ruffoote of Wimbish, yeoman, Jane 
Wiseman, widow, Bridget and Jane Wiseman, spinster, 
daughters of Widow Wiseman, and Edward Harrington of 
Wimbish, yeoman, for hearing the mass. The other is 
against Richard Jackson for saying mass there on the 
8th of September, and against Jane Wiseman, widow, 
Bridget and Jane her daughters, Thomas Hytchecock of 
Wimbish, yeoman, and Edward Harrington for hearing it. 
The seizure of the old chaplain, and many other parti- 
culars respecting the Wisemans, are reported to Lord 
Keeper Puckering by Justice Young in the following 
letter,' the date of which we learn from the foregoing 
indictments. The search it relates was probably made 
during one of Father Gerard's missionary journies, or 
he would have made some mention of it 

" It may please your Honour to be advertised that I 
have here signified unto your Honour such matters and 
occurrents as are lately come to my knowledge meet for 
your lordship to be acquainted withal, and because your 
Honour required to be informed of Mr. William Wiseman's 
house in Essex I first begin therewith. 

" First, there was found in the said house three horse- 
men's armour and seven other armours, two muskets and 
two cuUivers, bow and arrows, a jack and a shirt of mail, 
with all things complete to the said armours, which were 
in a vault behind a door very well and finely kept 
Mr. NichoUs a Justice of Peace was there with the pur- 
suivants and took notice of the said armour. 

" Also they found in a secret place between two walls 
in the said house an old priest named Thomas Jackson 
[the indictments call him Richard] who hath been beyond 
sea, and there was also found all the furniture belonging to 
mass, and the said priest useth ordinarily to say mass 
there, as is confessed. 

■ P.R.O., DomatU, Eliiabith, vol. cciliii. n. 95, 

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Life of Father John Gerard. 

" Itein, most of the servants in the house are recusants, 
although at their coming thither they were otherwise ; and 
Mr. Wiseman's two daughters Mrs. Jane and Mrs. Bridget, 
and two gentlewomen who would not declare their names. 

" There were found also in the said house divers letters 
written from Wisbech, the contents whereof are here briefly 
set down as foUoweth. 

" I. Imprimis, a letter written by Mr. Thomas Metham,' 
priest, to Mrs. Wiseman, dated 25 Jun., giving her thanks 
for her great benevolence bestowed upon the company at 
Wisbech. The sum of money he could not set down for 
that it came into the hands of Blewett the priest. 

" 2. She sent to Metham a handkerchief and a book. 
" 3. Father Edmonds'^ letter of thanks to Mrs.Wiseman 
for her gift. 

"4. Another letter to her from him with thanks for 
a jewel. These letters without date. 

"5. A letter from Thomas Metham, priest, to Mrs. 
Wiseman, giving her thanks for her great benevolence, 
and having no date. 

"6. A like letter from him, dated 13° Martii, 1591. 
" 7. A letter sent by DoUman the priest to Mrs. Wise- 
man, dated 28° die Jtinii, advertising her of her son 
Thomas and her son John their healths, and of his going 
to Wisbech, and that he was sorry her daughter Jane had 
no warning whereby she might have wrote an epistle in 
Latin to the priests at Wisbech, that they might have 
understood her zeal. 

"8. A letter sent by Father Edmonds to Mrs. Wiseman 
without date, mentioning a great jewel which she had 
given him, touching her sepulchre. 

" 9. A letter from John Wharton to Mrs. Wiseman, 
giving her thanks for her charitable entertaining of priests. 
■ This is Father Thomas Melham, of the Societj' of Jesus, who is reckoned 
among the martyrs as he died in prison. TrcuiUs, Second Series, p. 246. 

" Father William Weston took the name of Edmonds out of affection for 
Father Edmund Campion. Ibid. p. 6. 

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The Wisemans of Braddocks. 85 

" 10. A letter sent by Mrs. Wiseman to the priests at 
Wisbech, thanking them for her great cheer, and being 
sorry that she came not to them on pilgrimage on her 
bare foot. 

"II. A letter from Mr. Metham sent to Mrs. Bridget 
and Mrs. Jane, daughters to Mrs. Wiseman. 

"12. Another letter from Mr. Metham to Mrs. Wise- 
man, giving her thanks for her liberality. 

" 13. A letter from Father Edmonds to Mrs. Wiseman 
with like thanks for her great liberality and benevolence 
towards him. 

" 14. Another letter to her from the said Edmonds, 
giving thanks for her token, desiring to give Mr. Thomas 
thanks for his tokens. 

"15. Another letter to her from the said Father 
Edmonds, giving her thanks for the great gifts which he 
had seen, reviewed, and reviewed, and esteemeth to be 
of an inestimable value. 

"16. A letter from Doll man, the priest, to Mrs. Wise- 
man, witling her to be careful of her health for the comfort 
of God's Church in these dismal days, and for the en- 
couraging of her said daughters to papistry. 

" 17. Another letter from Dollman to the same effect, 
wherein he signifieth that he will carry her letters 
to the Reverend Fathers that they might joy and 
pray together for her and hers, with thanks for her 

"18. Another letter from Dollman to Mrs. Wiseman, 
giving her thanks for her great liberality. 

" 19. A letter from one unknown, for that his name 
is cut out, to Mrs. Wiseman that he is ready to entertain 
her daughters Bridget and Jane, although he live not in 
that security he was wont to do ; neither is the company 
together as it was but scattered into divers places and 
some not to return before St. Andrew's day, yet he is not 
alone (as he saith). Dated 24 Octobris, 1591. 

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Life of FatJier John Gerard. 

" 20. A letter written to Mrs. Wiseman of the great 
and Joyful accepture of her token, being her own invention 
and workmanship, by the Reverend Fathers at Wisbech, 
and that they were held in admiration of the workmanship : 
that Mr. Metham and Father Edmonds would buy as 
much satin as would make a vestment for the accomplish- 
ment of a suit for principal feasts. 

"21. A letter from Mr. Thomas Wiseman to his 
mother, wherewith he sendeth two bonds of 50^. a piece 
to be received of Mr. Moore of the Temple, which (if he 
die) he giveth to those to whom she shall pay it : which 
bonds are made in his Uncle Richard's name, and the 
letter is without date. 

" Edward Harrington, servant to Mr. William Wiseman, 
confesseth that he hath dwelt with him seven years, and 
since that time hath not been at church. He saith that 
on Friday the 9th day of September, 1592, Mr. Jackson 
said mass in Mr. Wiseman's house, and that John Ruffote, 
Mr. Wiseman's man, helped him to mass ; whereat was 
present old Mrs. Wiseman and her two daughters Bridget 
and Jane, Elizabeth and Margaret maidservants, the butler 
and this examinate. 

"Also he saith that on Sunday was three weeks the 
said Jackson said mass, whereat was present Mr. William 
Wiseman and his wife and two of his men that are now 
ridden with him, and all the company before named ; and 
Ruffote helped the priest to mass. 

"May it please your Honour to be advertised that 
whereas we have a commission to enquire of recusants 
and to make certificate of them quarterly, that the Com- 
missioners cannot be had or brought together to set down 
and agree upon their certificate and to signify their pro- 
ceedings, unless there may be severe strait letters from 
your Honours to require them very earnestly to execute 
the commission. 

" Ryc. Young." 

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■The Wisemans of Braddocks. 87 

Of some of the members of the Wiseman family just 
mentioned by Father Gerard, whose names occur in 
Young's letter, there is not a little to be said. To the two 
sons Thomas and John, who became Jesuits, we need not 
return ; and of Robert, who died in the army in Belgium, 
we have only this further mention that he was caught at 
a mass in his mother's house on New Year's day or there- 
abouts, 1 59^, and on the 14th of April following Justice 
Young wrote' of him, " Robert Wiseman, her other son, 
is also an obstinate recusant and will by no means take 
the oath. He is prisoner in the Clink." To the eldest 
son we soon return. 

The names of the two eldest daughters, Anne and 
Barbara, appear in 1 5 80 among the signatures of the thirty 
Nuns of Sion, then at Rouen, in a petition to the Catholics 
of England,^ praying them not to allow " the only Reli- 
gious Convent remaining of our country" to perish for 
want of support. The Convent reached Lisbon in 1 594 
and in 1863 returned to England and settled at Spetisbury 
near Blandford. It is the only Religious house in England 
that can trace an unbroken descent from a foundation 
made before the Reformation. Sion House was founded 
by Henry V. in 1413. 

The remaining sisters Jane and Bridget became 
Canonesses of St. Augustine in the Flemish Convent of 
St. Ursula in the " Half-street " at Louvain, which Convent 
is the mother house of the existing English Convents of 
the Order at Newton Abbot and at Bruges. The Convent 
now at Newton Abbot in Devonshire was originally 
founded at Louvain, under the title of St. Monica's, and 
from the interesting Chronicles of that house we learn 
much of the history of the families to which the Nuns 
belonged. Jane, or as they there called her, Mary Wise- 
man,3 was Subprioress of St. Ursula's, and Bridget her 

• P.R.O., JMneslic, Elimbith, vol. ccxlviiL n. 68. ' liid. vol, cxlvi, n, 114. 
3 TreiMes, First Series, p. 48. 

Hosted by 


88 Life of Father John Gerard. 

sister Infirmarian, when on the 9th of November, i6og, 
they left their first Religious home, to help to found a 
colony of the Order that should be entirely English. Mary 
Wiseman was professed at St Ursula's on the 8th of May, 
and Bridget on the Jth of June. 1595. Maiy Wiseman, 
whom the Flemish Nuns would have elected their Prioress, 
if at the time of their election she had had the canonical 
age of forty years, was elected the first Prioress of St. 
Monica's, and she governed that house for twenty-four 
years. The Chronicles of her Convent give the following 
charming account of her father and mother. 

" Our Reverend Mother Mary Wiseman was of very 
holy parentage. Her father lived and died a constant 
confessor of Catholic religion,' named Thomas Wiseman, 
of Braddocks in Essex, an Esquire of ancient family, who 
suffered much for his conscience, his house being a recep- 
tacle for priests and religious men. 

" He brought up his children, not only very virtuously, 
but also to learning of the Latin tongue, as well the 
daughters as the sons, himself being their master. Besides 
that, in his house was order kept resembling a monastery. 
At the meals for half an hour was something read, unless 
strangers were there of higher degree than himself ; other- 
wise this worthy custom was not omitted. Himself lived 
for the most part a reclused life, by reason that being 
troubled with the gout, he resided above in his chamber, 
giving himself to prayer and holy lecture : as also every 
Friday he would make an exhortation to his children in 
Latin, thereby to exercise them in that language, as also 
to give good instruction. 

' ll would appear that the father Thomas Wiseman temporarily yielded to 
theslonn, for in 1570 he is named in "A note of such as have been dealt 
withal by my lords this progress for refusing to come lo Church." Brit, Mus. 
Ceaon. MSS., Tilus B iii. n. 61. 

"Essex. Mr.Wesl of Depedei> '\ 

Mr. Henry of Bradbury >■ All these come to the Chutch." 
Mr. Thomas Wiseman 7 

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The Wisemans of Braddocks. 89 

« By which worthy education they profited so much 
that, having four daughters, the two eldest came over seas, 
and became Nuns of St. Bridget's Order, and have both 
governed the Monastery at Lisbon in Portugal, being 
chosen at several times by mutual interchange Abbesses 
(for their order is to change at some years) ; and at this 
present 1631 the one is Abbess and the other Prioress. 
The two younger daughters came to St Ursula's, to 
St Augustine's Order, leaving the kind cherishings of 
most loving parents, to embrace the strictness of poverty 
and want whereof we have spoken.' Such was their 
fervour to God's service even in tender age, following the 
example of their most virtuous parents. 

"For to speak now of their worthy mother, whose life 
hath partly been set down by some that knew her well. 
Her name before her marriage was Jane Vacham 
[Vaughan], her father being of ancient house in Wales, 
but her mother was a Tewder [Tudor] of the blood royal. 
She, being left a ward by her parents' death, passed many 
troubles and molestations to avoid marriage by those who 
had her in keeping. For having no mind to marry by 
reason that she was drawn through God's instinct to 
delight in spiritual things, her uncle by the mother's side, 
Mr. Guinneth,^ who was a priest and had been curate of 
a parish church in London in Catholic time, took especial 
care of her, although he could not assist her in all so well 
as he desired, being long time kept in prison when heresy 

' TrBublis, Fitst Series, p. 3S. , ,. , 

' "Gwyneth" in Welsh means "North Wales, which name he must 
h..e laken msle»i o( Tudor. John G«yneth -.^ Rector ot St. Pcler Che.p 
London, Sept. 19, 1543, -hen he .as p,ea,nted b, Thomas U.rd 
Aodeley, to No,. .9, ISS^, "hen he '"ieimd. Ne.cou.t s J^A"'™™ 
Bid,mMc-im P^n,Kil, LmJi?:nit, London, 1708, vol. ■. p. 5". »= '"1 
been pieviousl, pr.senled by Heno' VIII. lo SI Beuno's Ch.rch at Clynnog 
Va., in Caemaivonshhe, in 1538, bnl he soa.s to ha.c been d,spo«..ed .n 
lS,a on Ihe ground Hat Ihe presentation belonEod to the see o! Ba.sor. 
Brawoe Willis' i„r,(, ./«..«.- (London, r?"!. P. f°- Anthony a Wood 
■ays that he look the degree ot Doctor ot M.slc at Orford in 1531, "id p.b- 
lished several Catholic bwiks in London in 1554 and i557. ^"^- O''^- 

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go Life of Father John Gerard. 

came in, but at length getting freedom, he was desirous 
to match this his niece worthily and as should be best for 
her soul's good. Wherefore, one day he met with Mr. 
Wiseman, a young gentleman of the Inns of Court, and 
liked him so well that, upon the proposition of one in the 
company, he became content to marry his niece with him 
and brought him unto her, persuading her, if she could like 
him, to take him for her husband, 

" But she was ever very backward in that matter, in so 
much that having no less than thirty suitors, some whereof 
had seven years sought her good will, yet she could not 
settle her love upon any. But now it was God's will that 
she should yield herein unto her uncle, and so was married 
to Mr. Wiseman, who brought her home to his house in 
Essex, where she found both father and mother-in-law and 
a house full of brothers and sisters, among whom she 
passed some difficulties, not having things always accord- 
ing to her mind. But all happened to make her virtue 
more refined, for she ever carried herself both loving and 
dutiful to her husband, who loved her dearly, as also to 
his kindred, and assisted them all she could, living in the 
state of marriage irreprehensible, and bringing up her 
children in all virtue. 

" After her husband's decease, exercising the works of 
a holy widow, it pleased our Lord to rank her among the 
troops [not only] of constant Confessors, but also as we 
may say of valiant Martyrs, and of the most famous 
women that England afforded in these our miserable 
times of heresy ; for she was ever most fervent and 
zealous, and so devout in prayer, that she was once heard 
to say by her daughter, our Reverend Mother, ' It seems,' 
said she, ' that if I were tied to a stake and burnt alive for 
God I should not feel it, so great is the love to Him which 
I feel in my soul at this time.' 

" Wherefore Almighty God, to make her love for Him 
indeed apparent, permitted that TopcUffe, the cruel perse- 

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The Wisemans of Braddocks. 9' 

cutor, did vehemently set against lier. And at lengtli, 
only tor proving that she had relieved a Catholic priest,' 
giving him a French crown, [Topcliffe] brought her before 
the bar to be condemned to death for felony. But she 
constantly refused to be condemned by the Jury, saying 
that she would not have twelve men accessory to her 
innocent death ; for she knew [that] although they could 
not by right find her guilty, yet they could be made to do 
it when her enemies pleased. Hereupon they told her 
that she was by the law to be pressed to death if she 
would not be tried by the Jury ; but she stood firm in her 
resolution, being well content to undergo so grievous a 
martyrdom for the love of Christ. Yea, when they 
declared unto her the manner of that death in the hardest 
terms, as the custom is at their condemnation, the worthy 
woman, hearing that she must be laid with her arms across 
when the weights were to be put upon her, exulted with 
joy and said, "Now blessed be God that I shall die with 
my arms across, as my Lord Jesus 1 ' and after this, when 
her sons lamented with sorrow, she rejoiced and cheered 
them up There was at the same time a Catholic gentle- 
man, named Mr. Barnes," brought also before the Bench to 
be arraigned with her, who being a man, yet had not such 
courage as she to be pressed to death, but was content 
to be tried by the Jury, who were made to find him 
guilty as she knew well enough, although by right they 
could not do it, and so he was condemned to hanging 
for felony. 

"But neither he nor she died at that time, for Almighty 
God, accepting of this courageous matron's fervour to 
martyrdom, would not let her depart so soon out ot this 
life, that she might have a longer time of suffering for 
Him, as also do more good for His honour. [He] therefore 
■ Father John Jones fl/wi Buckley, O.S.F., who was martjred at 
St. Thomas Waterings in Sonthwark, July ll, 1598. 

= See his nanative in Tiemey's Dadd, vol. iii. App. n. xxkvu., printed from 
Stonyhnist MSS., A^sl. A, vol. ii. n. 41. Clialloner miscalU him Bamet. 

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ga Life of Father John Gerard. 

ordained that Queen Elizabeth, who then bore the sceptre 
in England, hearing of her condemnation," stayed the 
execution, for by bribes her son got one to speak a good 
word unto the Queen in his mother's behalf ; who, when 
she understood how for so small a matter she should have 
been put to death, rebuked the justices of cruelty, and said 
she should not die. 

" Notwithstanding both she and Mr. Barnes remained 
in prison so long as the Queen lived ; in which time 
Topcliffe ceased not often to molest her with divers 
vexations, in so much that she was made for a good 
space to lie with a witch in the same room, who was put 
in prison for her wicked deeds. And it was a strange 
thing to see that many resorting to the same witch there 
in prison, to know things of her by art magic, she never 
had the power to exercise her necromancy in the room 
where Mrs. Wiseman was, but was forced to go away into 
another place. 

"One thing also we will not omit, which was a 
miraculous thing. Upon a time her friend Topcliffe 
passed under her window, being mounted on a goodly 
horse, going to the Queen ; and Mrs. Wiseman espying 
him, thought it would not be amiss to wash him a little 
with holy water. Therefore [she] took some which she 
had by her and flung it upon him and his horse as he 
came under her window. It was a wonderful thing to see : 
no sooner had the holy water touched the horse but 
presently it seems he could not endure his rider, for the 
horse began so to kick and fling that he never ceased till 
his master Topcliffe was flung to the ground ; who looked 
up to the window and raged against Mrs. Wiseman, calling 
her an old witch who with her charms had made his horse 
to lay him on the ground ; but she with good reason 
laughed to see that holy water had given him so fine a fall. 

■ This was in July 1598. The circumstances of this condemnation ire 
related by Father Gerird a few chapters further on. 

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The Wisemans of Braddocks. 93 

"After Queen Elizabeth's death this valiant woman 
lived some years out of prison, but wanted not good 
occasions to exercise patience by one that was allied to 
her, a most perverse fantastical woman who used her very 
m ;' so that both in prison and out of prison she wanted 
not crosses to make her the more renowned by a long 
martyrdom in all, as I find written of her. She exulted in 
mind and abounded with spiritual comfort, out of the loyal 
and fervent love >»hich she bore to God ; until in the year 
1610, when her merits were accumulated unto a greater 
measure for eternal glory, she fell into a most painful and 
grievous sickness ; where amidst her great pains she would 
rejoice and give Almighty God thanks that He pleased to 
accept of those her sufferings in place of greater which she 
had desired to pass for His sake And coming to her 
happy death, the last words which she said to the priest 
were Pater, gaudco in De« f Father, I rejoice in God '], and 
so rested in our Lord. 

•'These were the parents of our first Prioress, who had 
also four sons. Two died priests 1 of the Society of Jesus, 
the other died a good CathoUc, and the eldest. Sir WiUiam 
Wiseman, is yet living, a man more of heaven than of this 

This was written in 1631, in the lifetime of Mary 
Wiseman, the Prioress of St Monica's, and her death two 
years later is thus recorded in the Chronicles of her 
Convent. "In the year 1633, upon the Sth day of July, 
died most blessedly our worthy Mother Prioress, after 
many years of continual weakness and sometimes great 
pain, especially the last year of her life, being scarce able 
to go out of her chamber. She was a woman of a great 
spirit and a great courage, resembling her mother Mrs. 
Wiseman, of whom we have made large menUon. She 
had her Latin tongue perfect, and hath left us many 
homilies and sermons of the holy Fathers translated into 

' They were not priests. 

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94 Life of Father John Gerard. 

English, which she did with great facility whilst some small 
respite of health permitted her: for she was sickly almost 
all the time of her government, which was a great cross to 
us all. Nevertheless such was her wisdom and prudence 
that she guided us with great peace and tranquillity, 
which peace she left established in the Cloister after her 

In the reign of James I.William Wiseman of Braddocks 
was knighted. This however was no great sign of royal 
favour in days when the heads of families of wealth and 
position were obliged to " take out their knighthood," that 
they might be obliged to pay the fees. Sir William and 
his wife Jane had one son, John, and two daughters, 
Dorothea and Winifred. The records of St. Mary's Abbey, 
East Bergholt, say that Winifred Wiseman entered the 
Novitiate of the Benedict inesses at Brussels on the 22nd of 
March, 1602, and was professed August 6, 1603, and died 
in 1647, (et. 63, being called in Religion "Dame Agatha," 
And as to Dorothea, the Chronicle of St. Monica's, now at 
St. Augustine's Priory, Newton Abbot, from which we 
have largely drawn, relates that " Mrs. Brooksby, a young 
widow, our Reverend Mother's niece, daughter to Sir 
William Wiseman, her brother, came here to Louvain to 
see her friends in 1610." John the son, who married 
Mary, daughter of Sir Rowland Rydgeley, had two 
daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth, and an only son, Aurelius 
Piercy Wiseman, who was killed in a duel in London in 
1680. The following inscription on his grave in Wimbish 
Church is given by Wright' " Here rest the sad remains 
of Aurelius Piercy Wiseman, of Broad Oak, in this parish, 
Esq., the last of the name of that place, and head and 
chief of that right worshipful and ancient family, who was 
unfortunately killed in the flower of his age, December ir, 

Three baronetcies were conferred on various branches of 
■ Histoiy of Essix, vol. ii, p. 134. 

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TJu Wisemans of Braddocks. 95 

the family, Sir William Wiseman of Canfield (162S), Sir 
Richani Wiseman of Thundersley (162S), and Sir William 
Wiseman, Knight, of Riverhall (1660). The two last men- 
tioned are extinct. The Wisemans of Braddocks were the 
eldest branch of the descendants of John Wiseman, Esq., 
who purchased the estate in Northend about 1430, and 
was the first of the family who lived in Essex. The late 
Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster, 
was of the same stock, being descended from a younger 
son of one of the junior branches of the family, who was 
made Protestant Bishop of Meath The children of the 
bishop settled in Ireland, and his descendants were 

Hosled by 



BRADDOCKS or Broadoaks— its very name indicates that 
it was an old English country place — is a house that still 
stands in the fields two miles from Wimbish Church in 
Essex. A century ago ' there were some remains of the 
moat that surrounded it in the days when Father Gerard 
made it the head quarters of his missionary life. He 
continues his autobiography thus. 

" When the house had been thus settled, I found time 
both for study and for missionary excursions. I took care 
that all in the house should approach the Sacraments 
frequently, which none before, save the good widow, used 
to do oftener than four times a year. Now they came 
every week. On feast days, and often on Sundays, I 
preached in the chapel; moreover I showed those who 
had leisure the way to meditate by themselves, and 
taught all how to examine their conscience. I also 
brought in the custom of reading pious books, which we 
did even at meals, when there were no strangers there; 
for at that time we priests sat with the rest, even with 
our gowns on. I had a cassock besides and a biretta, but 
the Superior would not have us use these except in the 

"In my excursions I almost always gained some to 
God. There is however a great difference to be observed 
between these counties where I then was, and other parts 

5 to liave been formerly moated round, and two 
.1 present." Morant, History of £«tr,] London, 

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JVor& in Essex. 97 

common people are Catholics, and almost all lean towards 
the Catholic faith, it is easy to bring many into the bosom 
of the Church, and to have many hearers together at a 
sermon. I myself have seen in Lancashire two hundred 
together present at mass and sermon ; and as these easily 
come in, so also they easily scatter wh'en the storm of 
persecution draws near, and come back again when the 
alarm has blown over. On the contrary, in those parts 
where I was now staying there were very few Catholics, 
but these were of the higher classes ; scarcely any of the 
common people, for they cannot live in peace, surrounded 
as they are by most violent heretics. The way of man- 
aging in such places, is first to gain the gentry, then the 
servants : for Catholic masters cannot do without Catholic 

"About this time I gained to God and the Church my 
hostess' brother, the only son of a certain knight. I ever 
after found him a most faithful friend in all circumstances. 
He afterwards took to wife a cousin of the most illustrious 
Spanish Duke of Feria. This pious pair arc so attached 
to our priests, that now in these terrible times they always 
keep one in their house, and often two or three." 

His "hostess' brother" was Henry, son of Sir Edmund 
Huddlestonei of Sawston in Cambridgeshire, who married 
Dorothy, daughter of Robert, first Lord Dormer, by his 
wife Elizabeth Browne, daughter of Anthony, first Vis- 
count Montague. The "cousinship" with the Duke of 
Feria is by affinity and half-blood. Jane, daughter of Sir 
William Dormer, by his first wife Mary Sidney, married 
Don Gomez Suarez, Count of Feria ; and Dorothy's 
father,- Robert Lord Dormer, was a son of Sir William by 
his second wife, Dorothy Catesby.^ 

' " While the house at Savfston was erecting, Sir Edmund resided on hii 
estates in Essen, and served Ihe office of Sheriff for that county in 20, 21 
[1578-9] and 30 Elizabeth " [ISSS]. Burke's Landtd Gmtiy, 1850, vol. 1. 

Hosted by 


98 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Henty Huddlestone was one of those who suffered by 
the Gunpowder Plot. He »«as arrested in Warwickshire," 
and examined November 8, 1605, »«hen he is called Henry 
Hurlestone" of Paswick. Essex. Mrs. Vaux wrote to Sir 
Richard Varncy, Sheriff of Warwickshire, that Mrs. Hud- 
dlestone, who was with her, begged that her husband might 
go up to London with the Lord Lieutenant.3 Winter in 
his evidence exculpated him.< He was in the Marshalsea, 
where his wife asked access to him.s In another exami- 
nation, December 6, 1605, he says that he met Father 
Gerard, alias Brooke, at Mrs. Vaux's house' He took the 
news to Harrowdcn where Father Gerard was.' On the 
5th of February, 1607, the King wrote to Salisbury con- 
cerning the grant to Sir John Leigh of the forfeiture of 
Huddlestone in Essex, a recusant.^ 

Father Gerard's next paragraph refers to the Rook- 
woods of Coldham in Suffolk The "heir to a goodly 
estate, who was put to death on a charge of treason," was 
Ambrose Rookwood, who was executed for the Gunpowder 
Plot. "The devotion and resolute mind of this gentleman 
was very well known to many," Father Gerard says of 
him in his " Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot,"9 " and he 
was very much pitied, as he had been much beloved" The 
secular priest his brother was Uving in 1624, and is called 
by Gee "Townsend alias Ruckwood." Watson in the 
" Dccachordon " mentions "Dorothy Ruckwood, Mr. 
Richard Ruckwood's daughter of Suffolk, who had a great 
portion given unto her by the Lady Elizabeth Drury her 
grandmother." Dorothy Rookwood was, it would seem, 

' P.R.O., GunpoTitlfr Plot Bask, r. 75. 
' im. Dameaicjumii /., vol. xvi. n. 31. 
3 md. n. 227. 

9 Cendilien 0/ Calkolin, p. 2: 

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IVorj^ in Essex. 99 

about two years in Belgium before she entered Religion, 
for she was professed at the Flemish Augustinian Convent 
of St. Ursula at Louvain, with Bridget Wiseman and 
Margaret Garnet, Father Henry Garnet's sister, on the 5th 
of June, 1595. She died " about the time the Dutch Mother 
was elected" in 1607, "very sweetly as she had lived, for she 
was a mild virtuous soul, sweet and affable in her conver- 
sation, and beloved of all her sisters." She did not there- 
fore live long enough to be one of those sent out to found 
the English Convent of St. Monica's in 1609. 

"It was in this same year [probably Father Gerard 
is speaking of 1592, the year in which St Omers 
College was founded] that I sent into Belgium the 
daughter and three sons of a Catholic gentleman. The 
siste^r became a nun in the Order of St. Austin at 
Louvain, where she gave such edification both in life 
and death that she was the talk of all : nay, they still 
speak of her with wonder, and stick not to call her 
a saint. In fact how great her esteem and love was of 
religious life may be known from this, that she was ever 
most thankful for that little help in her vocation which she 
got from me. She had praised me so much beyond my 
due in that convent, that when I came to Louvain, num- 
bers flocked to me. Nay, one of the Belgian Sisters, who 
had been especially dear to her while she was alive, had 
learnt the English language on purpose to make her con- 
fession to me, and others were trying to do the same. 
That this happened by the providence of God, I gather 
from the fact that it proved the salvation of some who 
otherwise would not have placed such trust in me. Her 
three brothers were among the first students of the 
Seminary of St. Omers. One, after finishing his studies 
well, died hoUly in Spain ; the second, who was heir to a 
goodly estate, was put to death by the heretics on a chat^e 
of treason f the third is still living and toiling in England, 
a learned and good priest, and a friend of our Fathers. 

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lOO Life of Father John Gerard. 

" Of my host's two sisters I have spoken before ; 
but these I did not send till afterwards. I had 
previously persuaded their mother, the good widow 
[Jane Wiseman], to go to her own house and maintain 
there a priest whom I recommended, in order that 
so noble a soul and one so ready for alt good deeds, 
might be a profit not only to herself but to many, 
as in fact she became. Her house was a retreat and no 
small protection both to ours and to other priests. She 
used moreover so to abound with joy when I or others 
came to her house, that sometimes she could not refrain 
from clapping her hands or some like sign of gladness ; 
she was indeed ' a true widow,' given to all manner of good 
works, and especially occupied with zeal for souls. 

" Indeed, besides others of less standing whom she 
brought me to be reconciled, she had nearly won over a 
certain great lady, a neighbour of hers. Though this lady 
was the wife of the richest' lord in the whole county, and 
sister to the Earl of Essex (then most powerful with the 
Queen), and was wholly given to vanities, nevertheless she 
brought her so far as to be quite willing to speak with a 
priest, if only he could come to her without being known. 
This the good widow told me. I consequently went to 
her house openly, and addressed her as though I had 
something to tell her from a certain great lady her kins- 
woman, for so it had been agreed. I dined openly with 
her and all the gentry in the house, and spent three hours 
at least in private talk with her. I first satisfied her in all 
the doubts which she laid before me about faith ; next I 
set myself to stir up her will, and before my departure I 
so wrought upon her, that she asked for instructions how 
to prepare herself for confession, and fixed a day for 
making it. Nay, she afterwards wrote to me earnestly 
protesting that she desired nothing in the world so much 
' Lady Penelope Devereux, daughler of Walter first Earl of Essex, wife of 
Robert third Lord Rich, afterwards Earl of WaiHick, 

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IVorJi in Essex. 

as to open to me the inmost recesses of her heart. But 
the judgments of God are a deep abyss, and it is a 
dreadful thing to expose oneself to the occasions of sin. 
Now there was a baron ' in London who had loved her 
long and deeply ; to him she disclosed her purpose by 
letter, perchance to bid him farewell ; but she roused a 
sleeping adder. For he hastened to her, and began to 
dissuade her in every kind of way; and being himself a 
heretic and not wanting in learning, he cunningly coaxed 
her to get him an answer to certain doubts of his from the 
same guide that she herself followed ; saying that if he 
was satisfied in this, he too would become a Catholic. He 
implored her to take no step in the meantime, if she 
did not wish for his death. So he filled two sheets of 
paper about the Pope, the worship of saints, and the like. 
She sent them with a letter of her own, begging me to be 
so good as to answer them, for it would be a great gain if 
such a soul could be won over. He did not however write 
from a wish to learn, but rather with the treacherous 
design of delaying her conversion. For he got an answer, 
a full one I think, to which he made no reply. But mean- 
while he endeavoured to get her to London, and succeeded 
in making her first postpone, and afterwards altogether 
neglect her resolution. By all this however he was un- 
wittingly bringing on his own ruin : for later on, returning 
from Ireland laden with glory, on account of his successful 
administration, and his victory over the Spanish forces 
that had landed there (on which occasion he brought over 
the Earl of Tyrone, who had been the most powerful 
opponent of heresy in that country, and most sturdy 
champion of the ancient faith), he was created eari by his 
present Majesty ; and though conqueror of others, he con- 
quered not himself, but was kept a helpless captive by his 
■ Charles Blount, eighth Baron Moimljoj-, who in 1603 was created Earl 
of Devonshire. He was married December 26, 1605, to Lady Rich, after her 
divorce and in the lifetime of her husUnd. The Earl of Devonshire died in a 
few months after this marriage, April 3, 1606. 

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I02 Life of Father John Gerard. 

love of this lady. This madness of his brought him to 
commit such extravagancies that he became quite noto- 
rious, and was publicly disgraced. Unable to endure this 
dishonour, and yet unwilling to renounce the cause of it, 
he died of grief, invoking, alas, not God, but this goddess, 
'his angel,' as he called her. and leaving her heiress of all 
his property. Such was his miserable end, dying in bad 
repute of all men. The lady, though now very rich, often 
afterwards began to think of her former resolution, and 
often spoke of me to a certain Catholic maid of honour 
that she had about her. This latter coming into Belgium 
about three years back to become a nun, related this to 
me, and begged me to write to her and fan the yet 
unquenched spark into a flame. But when I was setting 
about the letter, I heard that she had been carried off by a 
fever, not however before she had been reconciled to the 
Church by one of ours. I have set this forth at some 
length, that the providence of God with regard to her 
whose conversion was hindered, and His judgment upon 
him who was the cause of the hindrance, may more clearly 

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•■ I USED also to make other missionary excursions at tliis 
time to more distant counties towards the north. On the 
way I had to pass through my native place, and through 
the midst of my kindred and acquaintance ; but I could 
not do much good there, though there «ere many «ho 
professed themselves great friends of mine. I experienced 
in fact most fully the truth of that saying of Truth Him- 
self, that no prophet is received in his own country ; so 
that I felt little wish at any time to linger among them. It 
happened once that I went to lodge on one of these 
journeys with a Catholic kinsman.' I found him in hunters 
trim, ready to start for a grand hunt, for which many of 
his friends had met together. He asked me to go with him 
and try to gain over a certain gentleman who had married 
a cousin of his and mine. I answered tliat some other 
occasion would be more fit. He disagreed with me how- 
ever, maintaining that unless I took this chance of going 
with him, I should not be able to get near the person in 
question. I went accordingly, and during the hunt joined 
company with him tor whose soul I myself was on the 
hunt. The hounds being at fault from time to time, and 
ceasing to give tongue, while we were awaiting the renewal 
of this hunter's music, I took the opportunity of following 
my own chase, and gave tongue myself in good earnest. 
Thus, beginning to speak of the great pains that we took 
over chasing a poor animal, I brought the conversation to 

■ William Wiseman, Richard Fuhv««i, and Ralph Willis, whose names 
soon reappear in the story, were with Father Gerard at Lady Gerard's house 
before Michaelmas, 1591. P.R.O., Dmi^lk, Elizabeth, vol. codviii. n. 103. 

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I04 Life of Father John Gerard. 

the necessity of seeking an everlasting kingdom, and the 
proper method of gaining it, to wit by employing all 
manner of care and industry ; as the devil on his part 
never sleeps, but hunts after our souls as hounds after their 
prey. We said but little on disputed points of faith, for he 
was rather a schismatic than a heretic, but to move his will 
to act required a longer talk. This work was continued 
that day and the day after ; and on the fourth day he was 
spiritualty born and made a Catholic. He still remains one, 
and often supports priests at home and sends them to 
other people. 

" On an occasion of this kind there happened a very 
wonderful thing. He went once to visit a friend of his 
who was sick in bed. As he knew him to be an upright 
man, and one rather under a delusion than in wilful error, 
he began to instruct him in the faith, and press him at the 
same time to look to his soul, as his illness was dangerous. 
He at last prevailed with him, and was himself prevailed 
upon by the sick man to send for a priest to hear his 
confession. Accordingly, after instructing the invalid how 
to stir up in himself meanwhile sorrow for his sins and 
make ready his confession, the other went away. Not 
happening to have a priest at home at the time, he had 
some difficulty in finding one. In the meantime the sick 
man died, but evidently with a great desire of confession ; 
for he repeatedly asked whether that friend of his was 
coming who had promised to bring a physician with him, 
under which name priests often visit the sick. What 
followed seemed to show that his desires had stood him in 
good stead. Every night after his death there appeared 
to his wife in her chamber a sort of light flickering through 
the air and sometimes entering within the curtains. She 
was frightened, and ordered her maids to bring their beds 
into the room and stay with her ; they however saw 
nothing, their mistress alone saw the appearance every 
night and was troubled at it. At last she sent for that 

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Excursions. 105 

Catholic friend of her husband, disclosed to him the whole 
cause of her fear, and asked him to consult some learned 
man. He asked a priest's advice, who answered that very 
probably this light meant that she should come to the 
light of faith. He returned with the answer, and won her 
over. The widow, on becoming a Cathohc, had mass said 
in the same room for a long time, but still the same light 
appeared every night. This increased her trouble, so that 
the priest consulted other priests, and brought back an 
answer to the widow, that probably her husband's soul was 
on the way to Heaven, by reason of his true conversion of. 
heart and contrition accompanied with a desire of the 
sacrament, but still he stood in need of prayers to free him 
from his debts to God's justice. He bade her therefore 
have mass said for him thirty days, according to the old 
custom of the country. She took the advice, and herself 
communicated several times for the same intention. The 
night after the last mass had been celebrated in the room, 
she saw three lights instead of one as before. Two of 
them seemed to hold and support the third between them. 
All three entered within the bed-curtains, and after staying 
there a litde while, mounted up towards Heaven through 
the top of the bed, leaving the lady in great consolation. 
She saw nothing of the sort again; from which all 
gathered that the soul had then been freed from its pams, 
and carried by the angels to Heaven. This took place in 
the county of Stafford. 

"My journeys northwards were undertaken for the 
purpose of visiting, and strengthening in the faith, certain 
persons who there afforded no small aid to the common 
cause. Among them were two sisters of high nobility, 
daughters of an earl of very old family who had laid down 
his life for the Catholic faith." They lived together, and 

■ Thomas Percy, Earl pf Northumberland, Who was beheaded at York in 
,571 had toa, d.aghte,., Elizabeth, wife of Woodrol , Loo,, w.fc 
oisi, Edward Sla.le, i Jane, .11. ot I^td Heo,, Seymoar . and Ma.y, the 
second Abbess of the English Benedictine Convent at Brussels. 

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io6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

manifested a great desire to have me not merely visit them 
sometimes, but rather stay altogether with them. Though 
this could not be, they gave themselves up entirely to my 
direction, that I might lead them to God. The elder [Lady 
Elizabeth Woodroff ], who had a family, became a pillar of 
support to that portion of our afflicted Church. She kept 
two priests with her at home, and received all who came to 
her with great charity. There are numbers of priests in 
that part of the country, and many Catholics, mostly of 
the poorer sort. Indeed I was hardly ever there without 
our counting before my departure six or seven priests 
together in her house. Thus she gave great help to religion 
in the whole district during her abode there, which lasted 
till I was seized and thrown into prison ; whereupon she 
was constrained by her husband to change her abode and 
go to London, a proceeding which did neither of them any 
good, and deprived the poor Catholics of many advant- 
ages. Her sister [Lady Mary Percy] was chosen by God 
for Himself " I found her unmarried, humble, and modest. 
Gradually she was fitted for something higher. She learnt 
the practice of meditation ; and profited so well thereby, 
that the world soon grew vile in her eyes, and Heaven 
seemed the only thing worthy of her love. I afterwards 
sent her to Father Hoit in Belgium. He wrote to me on 
one occasion about her in these terms : ' Never has there 
come into these parts a country-women of ours that has 
given such good example, or done such honour to our 
nation.' She had the chief hand in the foundation of the 
present convent of English Benedictine Nuns at Brussels,' 
where she still lives, and has arrived to a great pitch of 
virtue and self-denial. She yearns for a more retired life, 
and has often proposed to her director to allow her to live 
as a recluse, but gives in to his reasons to the contrary. 

' This venerable community was (ransferred, in 1794, to Winchesler, and 
in 1857 lo East Betgholt in Suifollt. This was the first English Convent 
founded after the Refonnation, and the first to come to England at the French 

Hosted by 


Excursions. 107 

"At first I used to carry with me on these journeys 
my altar furniture, which was meagre but decent, and so 
contrived that it could be easily carried, along with several 
other necessary articles, by him who acted as ray servant. 
In this way I used to say mass in the morning in every 
place where I lodged, not however before I had looked 
into every corner around, that there might be no one 
peeping in through the chinlis. I brought my own things 
mainly on account of certain Catholics my entertainers 
not having yet what was necessary for the Holy Sacrifice. 
But after some years this cause was removed; for in nearly 
every place that I came to they had got ready the sacred 
vestments beforehand. Moreover I had so many friends 
to visit on the way, and these at such distances from one 
another, that it was hardly every necessary for me to 
lodge at an inn on a journey of one hundred and fifty 
miles ; and at last I hardly slept at an inn once in two 

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" I USED to visit my Superior several times a year, when 
I wished to consult him on matters of importance. Not 
only I, but all of us used to resort to him twice a year 
to give our half-yearly account of conscience and renew 
the offerings of our vows to our Lord Jesus. I always 
remarked that the others drew great profit from this holy 
custom of our Society. As for myself, to speak my mind 
frankly, I never found anything do me more good, or stir 
up my courage more to fulfil all the duties which belong 
to our Institute, and are required of the workmen who 
till the Lord's vineyard in that country. Besides expe- 
riencing great spiritual joy from the renewal itself, I found 
my interior strength recruited, and a new zeal kindled 
within me afterwards in consequence ; so that if I have 
not done any good, it must have come from my care- 
lessness and thanklessness, and not from any fault of the 
Society, which afforded me such means and helps to 
perfection — means peculiar to itself and not shared by 
any other religious order. 

" On one occasion we were all met together in the 
Superior's house while he yet resided in the country, and 
were employed in the renovation of spirit. We had had 
several conferences, and the Superior had given each of 
us some advice in private, when the question was started 
what we should do if the priest -hunters suddenly came 
upon us, seeing that there were so many of us, and there 
were nothing like enough hiding-places for all. We 

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A Visit to Father Garnet. io9 

numbered then, I think, nine or ten of ours, besides other 
priests our friends, and some Catholics who were forced 
to seelt concealment The blessed Father Garnet i an- 
swered, 'True, we ought not all to meet together now 
that our number is daily increasing : however, as we are 
here assembled for the greater glory of God.T will be 
answerable for all till the renovation is over, but beyond 
that I will not promise.' Accordingly, on the very day 
of the renovation, though he had been quite unconcerned 
before, he earnestly warned every one to look to himself, 
and not to tarry without necessity, adding, 'I do not 
guarantee your safety any longer.' Some, hearing this, 
mounted their horses after dinner and rode off. Five of 
ours and two secular priests stayed behind. 

" Next morning, about irve o'clock, when Father South- 
well was beginning mass, and the others and myself were 
at meditation, I heard a bustle at the house door. Directly 
■ after I heard cries and oaths poured forth against the 
servant for refusing admittance. The fact was that four 
priest-hunters, or pursuivants as they arc called, with 
drawn swords, were trying to break down the door and 
force an entrance. The faithful servant withstood them, 
otherwise we should have been all made prisoners. But 
by this time Father Southwell had heard the uproar, and, 
guessing what it meant, had at once taken off his vest- 
ments and stripped the altar ; while we strove to seek 
out everything belonging to us, so that there might be 
nothing found to betray the lurking of a priest. We did 
not even wish to leave boots and swords lying about, 
which would serve to show there had been many guests, 
though none of them appeared. Hence many of us were 
anxious about our beds, which were still -warm, and only 
covered according to custom previous to being made. 

■ When Ihls was wiitM, the strict laws of Urban VIII. liad not yet Ijeen 
made, which forbid Uie inlroduction of any public religious veneration except 
by the authority of the Holy See. 

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no Life of Father John Gerard. 

Some therefore went and turned their beds over, so that 
the colder part might deceive any body who put his hand 
in to feel. Thus while the enemy was shouting and 
bawling outside, and our servants were keeping the door, 
saying that the mistress of the house, a widow, had not 
yet got up, but that she was coming directly and would 
give them an answer, we profited by the delay to stow 
away ourselves and all our baggage in a cleverly-contrived 

" At last these leopards were let in. They raged about 
the house, looking everywhere, and prying into the darkest 
comers with candles. They took four hours over the 
business, but failed in their search,' and only brought out 
the forbearance of the Catholics in suffering, and their 
own spite and obstinacy in seeking. At last they took 
themselves off, after getting paid, forsooth, for their trouble. 
So pitiful is the lot of the Catholics, that those who come 
with a warrant to annoy them in this or in other way, 
have to be paid for so doing by the suffering party instead 
of by the authorities who send them, as though it were 
not enough to endure wrong, but they must also pay for 
their endurance of it. When they were gone, and were 
now some way off, so that there was no fear of their 
returning, as they sometimes do, a lady came and sum- 
moned out of the den not one but many Daniels. The 
hiding-place was under ground, covered with water at the 
bottom, so that I was standing with my feet in waiter all 
the time. We had there Fathers Garnet, Southwell, and 
Oldcorne (three future martyrs). Father Stanny and my- 
self, two secular priests, and two or three lay gentlemen. 
Having thus escaped that day's danger. Father Southwell 
and I set off the next day together, as we had come : 
Father Oldcorne stayed, his dwelling or residence being 
not far off." 

Father Oldcorne's residence was Henlip House near 
' Defecenint scrutantes scnitinio. — MS. Psalm Ixiii. 7. 

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A Visit to Father Garnet. m 

Worcester, the seat of the Abingtons, where he and Father 
Garnet were discovered and captured, at the time of the 
Gunpowder Plot, after a search of eight days. To Father 
Oldcorne we return in the next chapter : our present duty 
is to illustrate the account of the search in Father Garnefs 
house that Father Gerard has just given us. 

The house was that in which Mrs. Brooksby and Anne 
Vaux lived in Warwickshire, and the date was October 
the 15th to the i8th, 1591- As to the house. Father Gerard 
has already told us that Father Garnet did not come to 
live in London or its neighbourhood till Father Southwell 
was imprisoned in July 1592. The county in which he 
previously resided is indicated by Father Gerard in his 
"Narrative of the Powder Plot,"' where he says that 
"Father Oldcorne and he [Father Gerard himself] met 
at London according to their appointment, and by good 
hap found the Superior [Father Garnet] then in London, 
though his ordinary abode were then [1588] in Warwick- 
shire, almost a hundred miles from London." 

This house was confusedly indicated to Government 
in "the confession of George Snape," which is signed by 
Justice Young.2- "Moreover I have heard for a truth, 
and I do verily persuade myself that it is so indeed, that 
in Warwickshire dwelleth one of the Lord Vaux his 
daughters, whose husband's name I marked not, and yet 
I think I have heard him named. She is not far distant 
from one Mrs. Brooks, a recusant, if I be not deceived. 
This Mrs. Vaux entertaineth commonly a priest or two 
in her house, and is resorted to by divers others, so that 
sometimes there are to be found in the house at one time 
five or six priests together. They have very safe and 
close places of convenience in the house for them to lurk 
in, as it should seem, for Mr. Hodgkins hath been there 

' Condition ef Catkolics, p. 282. ^ , , 

= P R.O., Domalic, Elizabith, vol. ccxxix. n. 78; dated m the Calendar 

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1 1 2 Life of Father John Gerard. 

divers times and searched the house, when there hath been 
three or four together, and yet could find none of them. 
When I heard the report of this, if I had thought so much 
of the matter as I have done sithence, I would have in- 
formed myself more in particular of the situation and 
state of the house, but I took no great heed at that time 
to the reporter's words." 

The ladies were Anne Vaux and Eleanor, widow of 
Edward Brooksby, daughters of William third Lord Vaux 
by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Beaumont 
of Gracedieu in Leicestershire, Esq. Their half-brother 
Geoi^e Vaux left a widow with whom Father Gerard lived 
at a later period of his missionary life, and when he de- 
scribes her position in life he says that it was in the house 
of her husband's sisters, " one unmarried, the other a 
widow," that Father Garnet lived so long. 

The very meeting and search at Father Garnet's resi- 
dence in Warwickshire described by Father Gerard he 
has himself given some account of in a letter to Father 
Claud Aquaviva the General of the Society, which has 
been already printed.' It would however be well to place 
the descriptive portion of it in juxtaposition with Father 
Gerard's Narrative. Father Christopher Grene. from whose 
transcript^ it is translated, introduces this part of the letter 
with the words, " He then tells how they met on St, Luke's 
day, 1591, for the renewal of vows, and were freed from 
imminent peril." 

"That solemn meeting of ours was fixed for the three 
days that precede the Feast of St Luke [October 18] . . . 
The house we had chosen for the purpose of our assembly 
was that which we had almost always employed on former 
occasions. It was the house of two sisters, one a widow, 
and the other a virgin, both of them illustrious for good- 

' Troubles, First Series, p, 149- 

' Stonjhurst MSS., Father dene's Cottaian. P., i. 55^- 

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A Visit to Father Garnet. 113 

ness and holiness, whom in my own mind I often compare 
to the two women who received our Lord. . . . 

"Of a sudden there arrives a Queen's messenger. . . . 
Rosaries, chalices, sacred vestments, all other signs of 
piety are, with the men, thrown into a cavern ; the mis- 
tress of the house is hidden away in another hiding-place. 
... On this occasion, as often enough on others when 
the pursuivant came, the younger sister, the unmarried 
one, passed herself off for the mistress of the house. . . To 
all the other discomforts this is to be added, that in cases 
like this it is necessary to contend with men who are hard 
to satisfy. This the young lady always did with such 
skill and prudence as to be able to control their pertinacity 
and talkativeness. She was remarkable at all times for 
her virginal modesty and shamefaced ness, but in the cause 
of God and the defence of His servants the virgo became 
virago. She is almost always ill, but we have seen her 
when so weakened as to be scarce able to utter three 
words without pain, on the arrival of the pursuivants 
become so strong as to spend three or four hours in contest 
■with them. When she has no priest in the house she feels 
afraid ; but the simple presence of a priest so animates 
her that then she makes sure that no devil has any power 
over her house. This was proved to be true in this cruel 
search in particular. . . . For, quite miraculously, one pur- 
suivant who took into his hand a silver pyx which was 
used for carrying the Blessed Sacrament from place to 
place, straightway put it down again, as if he had never 
seen it. Before the eyes of another lay a precious dalmatic 
folded up. He unfolded everything else, but that he did 
not touch. I should never stop if I were to write down 
all the edifying things that have happened in this or other 

The martyr-poet Father Southwell refers in one of his 
letters to the pleasure these meetings gave him. The 
occasion related by him was some little time before that 

Hosted by 


114 ^^f^ of Father John Gerard. 

on which this search was made, as his letter is dated 
March 8, 15^^- The letter is translated by Bishop Chal- 
loner from the Spanish of Yepez ; in the following extract 
some alterations are made in accordance with the original 
Latin.' "We have all together with the greatest joy 
renewed our vows, according to our custom, spending 
some days in mutual exhortations and conferences. Aper- 
nimus ora et attraximus spiritum? It seemed to me that 
I saw the cradle of the Catholic religion which is now 
being born in England, the seeds of which we now sow 
in tears that others may come and bear the sheaves in 
gladness. We have sung the canticles of the Lord in a 
strange land, and in this desert we have sucked honey 
from the rock and oil from the hardest stone. But cxirema 
gaiidii luctns occupat, the end of these our joys was in 
sorrow. Sudden fears dispersed us, but in the end we 
escaped with much danger but little hurt. I and another 
of ours, seeking to avoid Scylla, had like to have fallen 
on Charybdis, but by the mercy of God we passed betwixt 
them both without being shipwrecked, and are now sailing 
in a safe harbour." ^ 

Another Father who is named by Father Gerard as 
present at this meeting in October 1591, and as shut up 
in the same hiding-place with himself, is Father Thomas 
Stanny. In November 1609, that is, about the time when 
Father Gerard wrote his autobiography, this Father wrote 
a " Relation about Martyrs " which is not now known to 
exist, but of which a few fragments are preserved for us 
by Father Christopher Grene.* He thus mentions Father 
Garnet, and the search at the renewal of vows in 1591. 
" He being sent into England, and shortly after Father 

' P.R.O., Domeslk, Elizabeth, vol. ccxxx. n. 104. 

= Psalm cxviii. 131. 

3 Father Southwell has wrillen this as an introduction to two different 
lelteis bearing the same dale, one of which refers to the other, in which he 
has described the martyrdom of Bales and Homer. 

< Slonyhurst MSS., Father Grene's Cdtedan. P., f. 581. 

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A Visit to Father Garnet. 115 

Weston the Superior happening to be taken . . . blessed 
Father Henry Garnet succeeded him, and for the space 
of almost twenty years performed that office with great 
charity and edification ... and with great increase of the 
Catholic faith and benefit of our Society, for at his first 
coming into England he there found only one Father of 
our Society, but at his glorious martyrdom he left behind 
him above forty of our Society. . . . 

■'Amongst other virtues, he had special devotion unto 
the Blessed Sacrament, in so much that he very seldom 
omitted to say mass for any troubles or travels. It was 
his custom always during the whole Octave of Corpus 
Christi to reserve the most Blessed Sacrament upon the 
aitar v/ith great ornaments, reverence, devotion and pro- 
cessions.' And when some said unto him, 'Your Rever- 
ence should do very well to be more wary in these 
dangerous times,' ... he made them this most confident 
answer, ' God, without doubt, will both defend and protect 
Himself and us likewise, if we firmly trust and rely on 
Him.' . . . 

" He had likewise a very great care that those that 
were not professed should, according to our rules, diligently 
twice a year renew their vows, which for some twelve or 
fourteen years he caused us to observe very exactly; 
although that, by reason of searching and such like 
troubles, divers were much against our meeting : yet his 
trust and confidence in God was so great that by no means 
he would omit it . . . but always said, ' By the grace of 
God I will take chat^e of you all until you have made 
your renovation, but afterwards provide for yourselves.' 
For which cause most of us did depart the same day, 
because that divers times it fell out that the very next 
day, when the greatest part were gone, the pursuivants 
came to search the house ; as twice I myself had trial 
thereof, when the next morning seven of us were driven 
' Sec Troubks, Second Series, p. 144- 

Hosted by 


ii6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

to hide ourselves in secret caves under ground. At our 
meeting were made divers sermons, one by our Superior 
himself, the rest by others of our Society." - 

Against such men a powerful Government was engaged 
in a war of extermination, and false brethren were found 
to betray them. In the following year James Young alias 
George Dinglcy, alias Thomas Christopher, the poor priest 
with whom we have already made acquaintance, made the 
following oiferi to Lord Keeper Puckering. "This term 
time divers priests will be in London, and as I think 
Garnet the Jesuit will also be here, or some other of the 
chief of them, with whom I should haply meet abroad 
and covertly give your honour to understand of them, that 
therein also your lordship may have experience of my 
sincere meaning and desire to requite in some sort her 
Majesty's most princely favour and your honour's bounty 
towards me. Thus wearied with irksome imprisonment, 
yet content with your lordship's determination, I commend 
your lordship to the safe tuition of Almighty God. From 
my prison this 30th October, 1592." 

■ P.R.O., Domestic, Eliznbdh, vol. ccxliiL. n. 50. 

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"Since 1 have mentioned Father Oldcorne's residence, I 
will set forth in short how he came to take up his abode 
there. When he first arrived in England he stayed some 
time with the Superior, as he had no place of his own 
to go to. At a little distance from his Superior's residence 
in the country, there was a fine house belonging to a 
Catholic gentleman, a prisoner in the Tower of London 
for the Faith." 

This was Thomas Abington, whose wife was Lord 
Mounteagle's sister, and he was in the Tower in 1588 
on the pretext of the Babington Plot. "The house," 
Father Gerard says in the " Narrative of the Powder 
Plot,"' "was called Henlip, two miles distant from 
the city of Worcester, and so large and fair a house 
that it might be seen over great part of the country ; 
and indeed it was so fair and commodious a house that 
it had often caused the owner of it much trouble, being 
an eyesore unto some Puritans of great wealth that were 
neighbours within some miles, and nothing so well seated ; 
who therefore procured often warrants to search that 
house in hope to find some priest there, for which the 
house and whole estate of the gentleman might be for- 
feited to the king, and so begged by them that were the 
causers and actors of such apprehension. But this being 
often essayed was never permitted by God until" the 
time when Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne were taken there, 
soon after the Gunpowder Plot. Dorothy was the name 
of Thomas AbJngton's sister, of whose conversion ^ by 
■ CcndUion of Catholics, p. J49. ' ^i^- P- *^3. 

Hosted by 


Il8 Life of Father John Gei-ard. 

Father Oldcorne Father Gerard next speaks. "He had 
a sister, a heretic, who had been bought up at the Queen's 
court. There she had dtanlt so deep of the poi.'ion of 
heresy, that no physician could be found to cure her. 
though many had tried. She readily spolte with them 
all about religion, but she did so all for the sake of 
argument, and not for the sake of learning. Thus no 
profit was made of an excellent Catholic's house, of 
which she had the charge while her brother was away. 
The house was one which surpassed all in the county 
for beauty, pleasant situation, and the many advantages 
it offered to Catholics. 

"After many attempts had been made on the lady 
without effect. Father Garnet wished Father Oldcorne to 
go and try his hand for once. He went, and found her 
very obstinate ; he plied her with arguments from Scrip- 
ture, reason, and authority, but all in vain. The woman's 
obstinacy however did not foil the man's perseverance 
He turned to God, and strove to cast out the dumb devil 
by prayer and fasting. She, seeing the Father eating 
nothing for the first and second day, began to wonder 
at his way of going on. Led on notwithstanding by 
obstinacy or curiosity, she said to herself, 'Perhaps he 
is not a man bnt an angel ; so I will see whether he 
subsists on angels' food ; and if he does not, he shall not 
convert mc.' 

"Accordingly the good Father kept up his fast for 
four days without tasting anything. By this steadfast- 
ness he discomfited the devil, and the woman was cured 
from that hour. He had truly obtained for her ears to 
hear, for from being very obstinate and headstrong, she 
became henceforth very obedient and humble. Indeed 
it seems likely that the reason why other priests could 
not win her to God, was because the Divine Providence 
had destined her for this Father, and designed not 
pnly her, but nearly the whole county to be brought 

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Father Oldcorne. 119 

over in consequence. He lived for sixteen years 
together in this residence and by his fruitful labours 
in this and the neighbouring counties, he won many to 
the faith, strengthened the wavering, and restored the 
fallen, besides stationing priests in divers places." Or, as 
Father Gerard expresses it elsewhere, " In which time of 
his abode in those parts it is not easy to be believed 
how many obstinate heretics he converted, how many 
weak Catholics he confirmed, how many scholars he sent 
over to the Seminaries and religious women to monas- 
teries, how many houses he brought to that degree of 
devotion that he might and did settle priests in them." 

"This it was that made several apply to him what 
St. Jerome writes of St John, that 'he founded and 
governed all the domestic churches in those parts ; ' and 
in good sooth all looked up to him as their father. Such 
was his prudence, that he fully satisfied all; such his 
diligence and endurance of toil, that he never failed any 
one^in the hour of need ; and his alms supplied the wants 
of many poor Catholics. In fact his house might have 
been one of our residences in a Catholic country, such 
was the number of Catholics fiocking there to the Sacra- 
ments, to hear his sermons, and to take advice in their 
doubts. His helpmate was Father Thomas Lister,' a man 
of distinguished learning. 

"While thus serving others. Father Oldcorne treated 
his own body with great harshness. Not satisfied with 
the labours I have set forth, and his 'care for all the 
churches' in those parts, which really in great measure 
seemed to depend on him for everything, he had many 
ways of macerating his fiesh. He appUed hard to study 
while at home. Of his fasts I have already spoken. He 

' As thU Fatliet 

sonetl at Midctleburg in Lent 1598, h 

Fatlier Oldcorne must by that t 

; have ended, and about the end of 

Elizabeth's reign he was stationed "with Mr. Cotton of Warblington 
Hampshire." Trm.hks, First Series, pp. 166. igi- 

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I20 Life of Father John Gerard. 

made use of the hair-shirt, and still more of the discipline, 
with great fervour. By all this put together, while he 
thought only of chastising his enemy and bringing it 
under subjection, he nearly made himself an unprofitable 
servant. First he broke a blood-vessel, which caused him 
to vomit blood in quantities. He managed to get over 
this, but almost every year he fell into such a weakness 
that his strength could hardly be restored. From this 
infirmity there came a cancer in his mouth, which in- 
creased to such a degree as to be incurable. The doctors 
said, as he told me afterwards, that some bones which 
seemed decayed would have to be taken out The good 
Father fearing thereby to be hindered from preaching, in 
which he was gifted with a marvellous talent, resolved first 
to go on a pilgrimage to St. Winifred's Well, a famous 
place and a sort of standing miracle. 

" St. Winifred was a holy maiden in North Wales, 
comely of face, and comelier still for her faith and love 
of chastity. A son of one of the Welsh chieftains loved 
her and sought her hand. She rejected him, as well on 
account of his being a heathen, as because she had already 
vowed her virginity to God at the hands of the bishop of 
the place, and was unwilling to yield it to man. The 
enraged chieftain's love turned into fury, and he cut 
off the maiden's head with a stroke of his sword. As 
this happened on the slope of a hill, the head rolled down 
to the bottom, where instantly burst forth a powerful 
spring of water. Ever since, the glen, which before got 
its name from its dryness,' has had in it a copious stream 
of water, which takes its rise at that spring and flows 
on to the sea. Such a volume of water gushes out of 
the spring every minute, that it suffices to turn a mil! at 
fifty paces distance. There are very large stones in the 

■ " Beunonus igitur cum Teuyth palrocinio suum fixil lugurium in convalle 
quK Brilonum lingua Suhnanl appellabalur." From the Life of St. Winifred 
in CoU. MSS. Claud. A. 5, published in the Liva of the Cambro-Briiish 
Saints, Llandovery, i843i P- '99- 

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Father Oldcorne. 121 

well, all red, as if covered with fresh blood. The people 
of the place are very loth to allow pieces to be cut off. 
Such pieces are also red, and the place of the cut changes 
from white to red in time. In the stream are also found 
many stones cither covered or sprinkled with blood. The 
Catholics gather these, and treasure them up as objects 
of devotion, as they do the sweet-smelling moss that sticks 
to the stoncs.1 The water in it is very cold ; but drinking 
it or bathing in it out of devotion has never done any one 
any harm. I myself have taken several draughts together 
fasting without hurt. On the feast of St. Winifred (the 
3rd of November), the water rises a foot higher than 
usual. It turns red on that day, and on the morrow is 
clearer than before. I visited it once on that day to 
witness the change, and found the water troubled and of 
a reddish hue, whereas it is generally so clear that you 
can see a pin at the bottom. It was winter, and freezing 
so hard at the time, that, though the ice had been broken 
the night before by the people crossing the stream, I 
had hard work to ford it on horseback the first thing 
next morning. Notwithstanding this severe frost, I went 
into the well, as all pilgrims do, and lay down and prayed 
there for a quarter of an hour. On coming out my shirt 
was of course dripping wet, but I did not change. I put 
on my clothes over it, and took no harm whatever. 

"These are wonderful facts, but in addition to them 
very signal miracles are often wrought there. A heretic 
visitor seeing the Catholics bathe out of devotion, said 
scoffingly. 'What makes these fellows bathe in this water? 

I'll wash my boots in it.' He jumped in as he was with 

his boots on, and sword in hand. No sooner had he done 
50 than he felt the supernatural power of the water, which 
before he had refused to believe. He was at once palsied 

■ The red lichen and the moss are both odoiiferous. Of the tormet Pennant 
says that "the slone to which it adheres easily betrays itself by the colour 
being as if smeajcd with blood, and, if rubbed, yields a smell like violets." 

Hosted by 


122 Life of Father John Gerard. 

and lost the use of his iimbs, and his sword could hardly 
be got out of his hand. For several years he was drawn 
about in a little cart, a cripple, to punish his own unbelief 
and to strengthen the belief of others. I myself have 
spoken to several persons who saw the lame man, and 
heard the story vouched for both by the man himself and 
by all who knew him. I learnt from them that the cripple 
afterwards repented, and recovered his soundness in the 
same well where he had lost it. There are many other 
stories of the same sort. 

"Such was the place where the blessed Father Old- 
corne determined to go, but St. Winifred was beforehand 
with him. He chanced on his way to reach the house 
of two maiden sisters, poor indeed in their way of life, 
but rich in the fear of God. They lived together in His 
service, keeping a priest in their house, whom they sup- 
ported and honoured as a father. This good priest had 
a stone taken out of the stream that flows from the well, 
sprinkled with blood as I described before. He used 
to place it on the altar with the other relics. When 
Father Oldcorne saw it, he took it and kissed it with 
great reverence. Then going apart he fell on his knees 
and began to lick the stone, praying inwardly as he held 
part of it in his mouth. In half an hour all pain was 
gone, and the disease was cured. He travelled on to 
the well, however, rather to return thanks than to ask any 
further favour. There he recovered also from the weak- 
ness of body which was thought to have brought on the 
cancer, and returned home as strong and hale as he had 
been for many a year. These are the words in which 
Father Oldcorne himself told me the story. The priest 
also, in whose abode he found the stone, lately vouched 
for the facts when I met him at St. Omers. He gave me an 
account of other marvels that happened at the death of 
Father Oldcorne, of which hereafter. So much then for 
Father Oldcorne, I return now to my own poor self." 

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"During my stay in this third residence, I gave the 
Spiritual Exercises to several persons. Among them were 
two gentlemen, who still stand to the good purposes they 
then made. They are our staunchest friends in the districts 
where they live. One of them, Mr. John Lee, lately 
defended philosophy at Rome: he is always ready to 
entertain ours and furnish them with money. The other 
has shown himself worthy of trust in many matters of 
moment. After five or six years each of them made 
another retreat with the most consoling result. 

" I sent also some young men abroad to study, with 
the view of entering on a more perfect state. One died at 
Douay, after great advancement in his studies, and with a 
wide-spread reputation for holiness. He had been a com- 
rade of the blessed martyr Father Francis Page, S.J. They 
were both in an office in London. It was through his 
means that the blessed Father was first brought to me, 
to his no small profit, as I shall show hereafter. Some 
are now Fathers of the Society ; for instance, Father 
Silvester and Father Clare, now living I think at the 
Seminary of Valladolid. Others of my sending are now 
serving God in divers places and divers conditions : among 
whom is Father John Bolt Great talent for music had 
won him the warmest love of a very powerful man. He 
spurned this love, however, and ail worldly hopes with 
it, to attach himself to me ; and lent his ear to the 
counsels of Christ in the Spiritual Exercises." 

Father Thomas Silvester was Minister of the College of 

Hosted by 


124 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Valladolid when Father Weston was Rector.' Father John 
Clare must not be confounded with Sir John Warner who 
took the name of Clare. 

Father John Bolt was not a Jesuit, but died a secular 
priest in 1640, having been chaplain and organist to St 
Monica's Convent for twenty-eight years. ^ He was 
arrested in March 159^. with William Wiseman, in a house 
hired by Father Gerard in Golding-lane, and those then 
taken were called by Father Garnet " our friends and 
chiefest instruments." We have his examinations on that 
occasion, and they will be given when we come to that 
stormy period in Father Gerard's life. Before that how- 
ever our auto biographer had an interval of comparative 
calm, and he has time to think of holy relics. 

"At this time I had given me some very fine relics, 
which my friends set for me very richly. Among them 
was an entire thorn of the hoiy Crown of our Lord, which 
the Queen of Scots had brought with her from France 
(where the whole Crown is kept), and had given to the 
Earl of Northumberland, who w,as afterwards martyred. 
He always used to carry it in a golden cross about his neck 
as long as he lived, and at his death made it over to his 
daughter, who gave it to me. It was enclosed in a golden 
case set with pearls : it is now in the hands of my 
Superior, along with three other cases made of silver with 
glass in front. Two of them are old relics, rescued from 
the pillage of a monaster}'. They came to me from a 
source that I could trust. The third contains the fore- 
finger of the martyr. Father Robert Sutton, brother of 
him whom I mentioned in the first chapter. By a wonder- 
ful providence of God, this finger, along with the thumb, 
was kept from decay, though the whole arm had been set 
up to be eaten by the birds of heaven, It was taken away 

■ TrouUf!, Second Series, p. 2S2. 

" Troublis, Firsl Series, p. 297, where the name is in the first instance 
misprinted "Best." 

Hosted by 


Relics. 125 

secretly by the Catholics after it had been there a year, 
and was found quite bare. The only parts that were 
covered with skin and flesh were the thumb and finger, 
which had been anointed at his ordination with the holy 
oil, and made still more holy by the touch of the Blessed 
Sacrament So his brother, another pious priest, kept 
the thumb himself and gave the finger to me." 

The relics mentioned thus far by Father Gerard were, 
he tells us, in the hands of his Superior i those that he 
afterwards describes were left in the care of various private 
persons "in trust for the Society." The latter, as far as 
is known, have all perished ; but the account of the former 
is of great interest to us, as these relics have come down 
safe to our times, and are all at StonyhursL 

The two "old relics, rescued from the pillage of a 
monastery," are there. They have labels in a fourteenth 
century handwriting, but they are not easily decipherable, 
and probably Father Gerard could not read them, as he 
gives no names to the relics. 

The thumb of Robert Sutton, priest and martyr- 
Father Gerard is wrong in calling it the forefinger— is 
there also, in a small gilt upright cylindrical reliquary. 
With it there is enclosed a paper in Father Gerard's hand- 
writing,' giving the same account of the relic that he has 
given above. 

There were two martyrs of the name of Robert 
Sutton.2 One was a layman, a schoolmaster, who was 
put to death at Clerkenwell. October 5. 1588.3 The 
other, whose relic this is, suffered at Stafford,'^ according 

■ " PoUex Dni. Robert! Suttoni SacerdotLs, qui Staffordii vinctus. nocte 
ante passionem in carcere magna luce circumfusus oraie visus esl. Partes 
autem corporis, postquam volatilibus cceIJ per annum expositie fuissent, a 
Cathollcis sublatre, hoc pollice et indice intactis, c;eteris ad ossa usque con- 

= Dr. Oliver has confounded Ihe two ; he says that Robert Sutlon was 
" formerly Rector of Lutterworth," but he quotes no authority for so saying. 
3 Challoner, Missionary Priests, vol. i. p. Z45- 
* Ibid. vol. i. p. 206. 

Hosted by 


126 Life of Father John Gerard. 

to some on the 27th of July, according to others on the 
3rd of March, 1587. The brother, who gave this relic to 
Father Gerard, was Abraham Sutton, who was ordained 
with Robert at Douay February 23, i57|. They 
were sent together upon the English mission on the 
19th of March, when they had been just a year at the 
College, and having both been Imprisoned, they were 
banished together in 1585. Abraham, who was at one 
time tutor to two of the young Fitzherberts,' was again 
banished in 1606. The martyr had two other brothers, 
William and John, both Jesuits, of whom the elder was 
Father Gerard's tutor. 

The relic of the Crown of Thorns has a curious history. 
The relics previously mentioned were brought from Liege 
to Stonyhurst on the transfer of the College in the year 
1794, and the thumb of Robert Sutton is mentioned in 
a letter from Father William Strickland to Father Mar- 
maduke Stone, dated April 7, 1806. The relic of the 
Crown of Thorns was never at Liege. It was taken to 
StOmers about the middle of the seventeenth century, 
probably in December 1665, as the permission for it to be 
exposed for public veneration was given by the Bishop of 
St. Omers on the 8th of January, 1666. This permission 
was countersigned, after the arrival of the relic in England, 
by the Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, Charles 
Walmesley, O.S.B., Bishop of Rama, on the nth of 
December, 1790, at which time the relic belonged to Mr. 
Weld of Lulworth, and by the Vicar Apostolic of the 
Northern District, William Gibson, Bishop of Acanthos, 
on the 4th of November, 1803, when the relic had been 
given to Stonyhurst College. 

Father Charles Plowden, in his account of the sup- 
pression of the English College at Bruges, to which city 
the College that had existed for two centuries at St. Omers 
had been transferred a few years before, says that " some 
' P.R.O., Domistic, Eli%aMh, vol. ccsxxv, n. 88. 

Hosted by 


Relics. 127 

young gentlemen of the College chanced to get into their . 
possession the beautiful and precious reliquary of the Holy 
Thorn which Queen Mary of Scotland brought away with 
her from the Royal Chapel of Holyrood House ; and 
knowing that other valuable deposits were in the Car- 
thusian Convent, one, of them in his journey to England 
left the Holy Thorn there, as in a place of security, 
consigned to the hands of Father Norris. Father Mann, 
Prior of the Carthusians, leaving them, voluntarily sur- 
rendered the treasures he had received to the Government, 
taking Father Norris with him to Bruges for that purpose. 
The Holy Thorn fell into the hands of a scrivener named 
Van de Steine, who sold it in 1781 to Mr. Thomas Weld 
for seven guineas, the value of the gold, and under promise 
to restore it if redemanded by the Government of Maria 
Teresa. In 1803 Mr. Weld gave it to the Reverend 
Marmaduke Stone for Stonyhurst." 

This account of the purchase by Mr. Weld is perfectly 
accurate, but the rest of the story as told by Father 
Plowden is imperfect and incorrect." The facts are these. 
On the suppression of the Society, not unnaturally, the 
English boys at the Grand College at Bruges became very 
unruly and unmanageable on the loss of their masters, and 
the Government, which had desired to preserve the College 
for the benefit of the city of Bruges, was obliged to send 
them away. Some went to Liege and others to their own 
homes. Among the boys there was the Hon. Hugh 
Edward Henry Clifford, afterwards the sixth Lord Clifford, 
then a boy of seventeen. The property of the Jesuits had 
been seized, and the cupboards were sealed by the Com- 
missaries of Maria Teresa. Mr. Clifford, knowing how the 
relic of the Holy Thorn was prized by the Jesuit Fathers, 
broke open the cupboard in which it was, and gave it to a 

' The writer's best thanks are clue to W. H. James Weale, Esq., ot 
Bruges, for the reference to the Abbe Mann's letter and for infornifttion 
respecting the relic at Ghent. 

Hosted by 


128 Life of Father John Gerard. 

scholastic of the name of Jameson, who was then starting 
for England in charge of the two sons of Sir James Hag- 
gerstone. Bart. Their way lay through Nieuport, where 
existed the last remains of the famous Carthusian house of 
Sheen, which had kept up its continuity in the Low 
Countries all through the times of the persecution in 
England, to perish in the French Revolution. Father 
Augustus Mann, better known afterwards as the Abbe 
Mann, was then Prior, and on learning from Mr. Jameson 
that he had this treasure with him, he induced him, by 
fear of excommunication for stealing a relic and by threats 
of the indignation of Maria Teresa's Government, to leave 
the relic at Nieuport. The Prior then sent it to the Bishop 
of Bruges, with a letter dated the i6th of October, 1773 ; 
but when it reached the Bishop, the Commissaries had 
left Bruges, and the reliquary was handed over to their 
notary, Van de Steine, who kept it, and ultimately sold it, 
as Father Plowden says, to Mr. Weld of Lulworth. 

The reliquary is very light and graceful, of the renais- 
sance period, made in gold with little enamels inlaid. 
Under the foot is the following inscription : " + Hsec 
spina de Corona Dol. sancta, fuit primo Mari^ Reg. Scot 
Mart, ab ea data Comiti Northumb. Mart, qui in morte 
misit illam fili^ sure Eliz^, qu^ dedit Soc, hancq. I. Wis. 
ornavit auro." " My friends set it for me very richly," 
says Father Gerard. Who can doubt that the "I. Wis." 
of the inscription is "Jane Wiseman ?" 

Father Gerard speaks only of one reliquary, and that 
one in which the relic is " set with pearls." Several spiral 
strings of pearls surround the relic at Stonyhurst. But 
there is another reliquary in existence the very counterpart 
of it, of exactly the same form and materials, with pre- 
cisely the same inscription under its foot, containing also a 
little relic of one of the Holy Thorns. It is clear that, though 
he has not recorded it. Father Gerard divided into two parts 
the relic which he received from Lady Elizabeth Woodroff, 

Hosted by 


Relics. ■ 129 

and Jane Wiseman had two reliquaries made by the same 
artist The second differs from the first only in having 
no strings of pearls. At the time that the first was taken 
to St. Omers, the second was taken to the English Jesuit 
Novitiate at Watten by Father John Clerk, the Provincial, 
who, at the request of Father Martin Grene the Rector, 
wrote an authentication dated the 17th of January 1666, 
which was approved by the Bishop of St. Omers on the 
5th of February. The inscription, being under the foot, 
was never read by Father Clerk, who could only attest 
that it had been kept in the Provincial's room in London, 
and always venerated by his predecessors as a true relic of 
the Crown of Thorns. On the expulsion of the Society 
from France a few years before the suppression, the 
College of St. Omers became the Grand ColUge at Bruges, 
and the school at Watten the Petit ColUge in the same 
city ; but though the relics and archives of St. Omers were 
taken to Bruges, those of Watten were deposited in the 
Tertianship at Ghent, and there they were seized at the 
time of the suppression. By some means the Watten 
relics passed into the possession of Maximilian Macharius 
de Meulenaere, Dean of the Chapter of St. Bavon and 
Vicar General of Ghent, who kept them for some years, 
obtaining for the Holy Thorn the approbation of the 
Bishop of Ghent, Govardus Gerardus van Eersel on the 
23rd of March 1774- Besides the relic of the HolyThorn, 
the Dean had the magnificent relic which bears the in- 
scription " A peece of the stump of the crosse of o'. Saviol,'" 
which was once in the Tower of London with the crown 
jewels of James I. The Holy Cross the Dean ultimately 
gave to the Bishop of Ghent, and it is now preserved in 
the Treasury of the Cathedral of St. Bavon. The Holy 
Thorn he gave to the confraternity of the Holy Cross in 
the Church of St. Michael at Ghent on the 24th of April 
1S08, and in the sacristy of that Church it now is. 

We may now let Father Gerard finish what he has 

Hosted by 


130 Life cj Father fohn Gerard. 

to say about the relics that came into his possession, and 
then we accompany him into scenes of danger. 

" I had given me about the same time a silver head of 
St. Thomas of Canterbury ; also his mitre set with precious 
stones. The head, though neither large nor costly, is very 
precious from having in it a piece of the skull of the same 
Saint, which we think was the piece that was cut off when 
he was so wickedly slain. It is of the breadth of two gold 
crowns. The silver head was old and had lost some stones, 
so the gentleman, in whose house I was, had it repaired 
and better ornamented. On this account, the Superior 
afterwards let him keep it in his private chapel in trust for 
the Society. 

" In like manner another Catholic gentleman in that 
county has by the same permission a large piece of the 
arm of St Vita, virgin, daughter of a king in the west of 
England. Many churches in England are dedicated in 
her honour under the name of Whitchurch. This relic 
reached me by God's will in this manner. The parson of 
the place where the whole or great part of her body used 
to be kept in olden times with due honour, began to be 
troubled in his rest, insomuch that he could not sleep. 
The annoyance had lasted for some time, when one day 
the thought struck him that his troubles came from his not 
paying proper respect to these bones which he had in his 
keeping, and that he ought to give them to the Catholics, 
the rightful owners. He did so, and his rest was never 
again broken. A good priest told me this story, and gave 
me a large bone, which a pious Catholic is keeping at 
present for the Society. 

" There was also given me some beautiful altar furni- 
ture which I used to the great comfort and increase of 
devotion as well of the Catholics of the house as of 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XI. 


It may be as well to place on record here the documents relating 
to the history of these relics. And first we give the paper pre- 
served at Stonyhurst with tlie Holy Thorn. 

Sacratissima spina (ex Corona quse venerando Christi Domini 
Salvatoris capiti imposita et impressa fuit) quam iiitidissinio vitro 
inclusam in theca aurea servant Patrea Angli Societatis Jesu in 
Seminario Audomarensi, full Marite Stuartse Sercnissimte Reginas 
Scotife, quK in AngUa pro fide et justitia martyrium subiiL H;ec 
eamdem legavit Henrico Percy, NorthumbriK Comiti, qui Catho- 
\icam fidem sanguine pariter consignavit. Hie Comes reliquit 
illam filiiE suk, lectissima femin^ ElizabethEe, qute deinde earn 
donavit Patribus Societatis Jesu, a quibus multos annos religio- 
sissime servabatur, et quantum in haeretica gcnte periculosis tem- 
poribus licuit, fidelium venerationi proposita fuit: nuper vero, quo 
lutiore loco sit, neque debito cultu ac veneratione diutius frau- 
detur, ex AngUa transmissa et apud R. P. Rectorem Seminarii 
Audomarensis deposita est In una basi sive pede thecte qua 
includitur, quK puro constat auro, h^c verba insculpta leguntur : 
Hac spina de Corona Domiiii sancta, fuit prime Marias RegincR 
ScotitB inartyris, et ab ea data Comiti Northumhrim martyri, qui in 
morte misit illdm jUits sua EUzahetha, qua dedit Societati; hancqtte 
J. Wis. ornavit auro. 

Illmus. ac Revmus. Dnus. Epus. Audomarensis permittit prse- 
Eatam Sacratissimam Spinana exponi publicee hominum venera- 
tioni. Datura Audoniari, Januarii 8, 1666. 

De mandato, J. de la Ramonerij, Secret. 

Eamdem Sacratissimam Spinam exponi publiae venerationi 
permisi. Die 11 Decern. 1790. 

Carolus Epus. Ramaten, V'"' Aplicus. 

Eamdem Sacratissimam Spinam exponi publicK venerationi 
permisi. Die 4 Nov. 1803. 

GuLiELMus Epus. Acanthensis, Vic. Apus, 

Hosted by 


132 Life of Father John Gerard. 

2. Prior Mann's letter to Mgr. Caimo, Bishop of Bruges, is 
copied from the original in the Arclmes de I'Etat at Bruges, in 
the Palais de Justice, Collection spiciale, n. lo, f. 96. 

Nieuport, le 16 Oct. 1773. 


Etant absent de chez nous une partie de la journee d'au 
hier, dans cet intervalle il est passe par chez nous le nomme 
Jameson, cidevant maitre de classe au Grand College des J^suites 
Anglois a Bruges, passant en Angkterre avec les deux fils du 
Chevalier Baronet Haggerston. II a dccouvert qu'il avait avec 
lui Ml petit Reliqtiaire d'or emaillk ft orn't d'environ tine jo' de 
fines perles orienlales, dans Icquel est encliassk tine Epine de la 
Couronnc de Notre Seigneiir. Is tout dans tin etui noir et pr'es de 
6 pouces de haiitmr. L'on dit que ce Reliquaire ait appartenu 
autrefois 'k Marie Reine d'Ecosse. Jameson disoit que re Reli- 
quaire a et^ pris par un jeune seigneur etudiant dans ce College, 
et fils aine du milord Clifford, une des plus illustres families 
d'Angleterrc ; que ce Reliquaire est enregistre sur I'inventaire 
des biens de ce College, et que M. Clifford, pour I'avoir, a ouvert 
ou force I'armoir ou endroit ou il etoit enserre. On a tellement 
Iireche ce M. Jameson sur ce vol sacrilege, et que ce cas ^toit .\ 
encourir V excommunication et I'indignation du Gouvernement 
contre tous ceux qui y avoit part, que ce Reliquaire est reste che^ 
nous, dans I'intention d'en donner part, et de le remettre i ceux 
qu'il appartient. 

Comme ce cas me paroit grief, et peul avoir des suites 
facheuses pour un jeune Seigneur et famille JUustre, et que nous 
avons lieu de croire qu'il est tellement s^u entre les autres 
^tudiants qu'il ne peut pas longtems rester secret, je I'ai crQ de 
mon devoir dc donner imm^diatement connoissance du tout ^i 
Votre Grandeur, le laissant \ votre sagesse d'agir la dedans, et i 
en prevenir les suites, par les mo yens les plus com enables. Je 
serois bienaise cependant de voir ce jeune seigneur et son frere 
cadet partir de ce pais, d'ou milord Clifford ne manquera point 
de les rappeler aussitot que les nouvelles de ce qui vient de passer 
derniferement a I'egard des membres de I'^teinte Soci^tg lui 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XI. I33 

Je prie Votre Grandeur de vouloir bien examiner la lettre que 
i'ensers pour M. le Conseiller Van Volden, Commissaire de ce 
College sur raffaire en question, et de la lui faire parvenir, ou de 
la supprimer comme vous jiigerez coiivenable. Je ne clierche que 
de remplir mon devoir, et satisfaire k raa conscience dans ces 
affaires critiques. . . . J'ai Vhonneur d'etre, avec le plus profond 
respect, devouement et souraission, 

Monseigneur, de Votre Grandeur 

Le trcs humble ct tres obelss' scrviteur, 

Auii. Mann. 
Endorsed, La relique mentioiiee en cette lettre a ete remise 
aux commissaires de Sa Maj"^ 

3. Father Clerk's attestation tliat accompanies the relic which 
is now in the Sacristy of the Parish Church of St. Michael in 
Ghent is as follows. 

Joannes Le Clerque Proviiicia; Xnglicante Societatis Jesu 
Pr'spOsitus Provincnlis 

Cum P Mirtmus Grenus Rector Domus Probationis Wattenis 
T me petut ut testimonium direm de ]uidam bpma Coronse 
Chnsti Domini quje jam est \\ items hisce testatum facio me 
pr-Bdictam sicram Si inim lu'e crjstallo m crucis forma facto 
inclusi est et c rcumdatur corona spme^ ex luro facti et vindi 
colon obducta habetque mfcrius pedem lureum ac superms 
nomen IHS factum <.x auro iiriis colonbus picto hisce mquam 
testitum facio me prsdictam sicram Spmam in prxdicti theca 
inclusam in Proimcalis cub culo Londini servivisse et a prse 
decessoribus acctpissL Tester insuper me bona fide credere 
dictam Spimm veram esse unam ex S] inis Corona Domini ac ut 
talem a predecessoribus meis servitim et m honore habitam 
fujsse Den que testatum ficio me predictam sacram Spmim, 
cum sua theca aurea misisse ^\ items ut ibi cum mijore reverentia 
tutiusque ser\iretur donee mihi vel successoribus meis placuerit 
eamdem repetere. In quorum fidem has manu mea subscriptas, 
ac officii mei sigillo munitas dedi. Watenis 17 Januarii 1666. 

L -^ S Joannes le Clerque. 

Hosted by 


134 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Illmiis. ac Rmus. Dnus. Epus. Audomarensis prtememoratam 

sacram Spinam Coron.-e Christi Domini permittit exponi publics; 

hominum venerationL Datum Audoraari quinta Febniarii 1666. 

Demandato, J. de la Ramonerij, Secret. 

Govardus Gerardus van Eersel Epus. Gandavensis permittit 

has reliquias e^poni fidelium devotioni. Gandavi 23 Martii 1774. 

De fiiaitdato, M. M. De Meulenaere, Seird. 

Hosted by 



We now come to a period in Father Gerard's life in which 
his relations with the Government were too close to be 
pleasant To lis this is an advantage, for, thanks to the free 
access to the State Papers now given to historical students. 
we are able to follow his narrative in the Government 
documents, and thus we can supply names and dates that 
he suppressed, and in some cases even we are admitted 
to secrets that were mysteries to him. 

Hence, when Father Gerard says that he had per- 
suaded Mrs. Wiseman, or "the Widow Wiseman," as it 
seems more natural to call her, •'to go to her own house 
and there maintain a priest whom he recommended," we 
are able to say that the name of the priest was Brewster. 
and that her house was at Northend in the parish of Great 
Waltham — an estate which had been in the possession of 
the family since the time of Henry VI. We learn that the 
search of this house when the priest escaped took place 
on the 26th of December 1593. but that the widow was 
not then arrested as Father Gerard thought. We learn 
that the treacherous servant was called John Frank, and 
that his was "a white house in Lincoln's Inn Fields;" 
that the house which Father Gerard says " had been lately 
hired in London for my own and my friend's purposes " 
was a house then lately built " in the upper end of Golding- 
lane;" that William Wiseman and others were arrested in 
it on the 15th of March 159^; that the house in which 
Father Gerard was taken was called Middleton's, and that 
his capture was before the 12th of May 1594. And lastly. 

Hosted by 


136 Life of Father John Gerard. 

there is a strong probability tliat the pursuivants were put 
on Father Gerard's track by an unhappy priest of the 
Tichborne family, of whom Father Gerard had no sus- 
picion. All these points wc shall see in detail in due time. 

Father Gerard thus passes from his accounts of relics 
and vestments to searches and imprisonments. 

"But there is a time for gathering stones together, 
and a time for scattering them. The time had now come 
for trying the servants of God, my hosts, and myself along 
with them. And that they might be more like in their 
sufTenng to their Lord for Whom they suffered, God 
allowed them to be betrayed by their own servant whom 
they loved. He was not a Catholic, nor a servant of the 
house, but had once been in the service of the second 
brother [Thomas Wiseman], who when he crossed the sea 
recommended him to his mother and brother. He lived 
in London, but often used to visit them, and knew nearly 
everything that happened in either of their houses. I had 
no reason for suspecting one whom all trusted. Still I 
never let him see me acting as a priest, or dressed in such 
a way as to give him grounds to say that I was one. 
However, as he acknowledged afterwards, he guessed what 
I wa.s from seeing his master treat me with such respect ; 
for he nearly always set me two or three miles on my 
journeys. Often too my host would bear me company 
to London, where we used at that time to lodge in this 
servant's house. I had not yet found by experience, that 
the safest plan was to have a lodging of my own. Such 
were the facts which, as the traitor aftenvards stated, gave 
rise to his suspicions. Feeling sure that he could get 
more than three hundred pieces of silver from the sale 
of his master, he went to the magistrates and bargained 
to betray him. They, it seems, sent him for a while to 
spy out who were priests, and how many there were of 
them haunting the houses of the widow and her son," 

This servant, John Frank, whom Thomas Wiseman 

Hosted by 


The Search at Northend. 137 

had recommended to his mother and brother, and who 
thus repaid their kindness, was examined by Justice Young 
on the i2th of May, 1594, after Father Gerard's appre- 
hension. In the copious extracts from his deposition that 
we are about to give, it will be remarlied that he says that 
Mr. WiUiam Wiseman and Father Gerard were at his 
house together at the Midsummer of 1593. Father Gerard 
has just told us that he used to go there till he got a 
lodging of his own. 

Frank's house is named in one of Father Henry 
Walpole's examinations in the Tower at the very time 
when Frank had begun to give information. It is dated' 
May 3, 1594. "He had one direction for England, and 
had also a note containing some business to be done in 
England for his kinsman Edward Walpole the priest, who 
then was at Tournay in Artois. This examinate was also 
thereby directed to a house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, but 
he utterly denieth to disclose the name of the owner of 
the said house or of the gentleman to whom he was 
directed that lodged in the same house, and yet he 
knoweth the said house and the name of the said gentle- 
man, but refuseth for conscience' sake (as he saith) to 
reveal the same. Being further examined whether it were 
the house of one Frank, a white house in Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, he answereth he will neither deny it nor affirm it 
Being asked again of the gentleman that lodged in the 
said house in Lincoln's Inn Fields to whom he was 
directed, which gentleman was of acquaintance as well 
with this examinate as with the said Edward Walpole, 
he refuseth to disclose his name, and yet he confesscth he 
knoweth the gentleman and doth well remember his name. 
He saith that the name of one SpiOer^ was not set down 
in any of the said directions given to this examinate. 

■ P.R.O., Domestii, Elisatelk, voL ccxlviii. n. gl. 

= Mr. Robert Spiller is mentioned in her Life (p. 240) as steward to Anne 
Countess of Arundel. 

Hosted by 


138 Life of Father John Gerard. 

And being told that a house called Braddox tn Essex 
was set down in one of his directions, he saith he will 
neither affirm nor deny the same. Being told that the 
name of Mrs. White was contained in his direction for 
England, he utterly denieth it." 

The result of Frank's information was that " the widow's 
house was first searched. The priest that usually dwelt 
there was then at home, but escaped for that time by 
taking refuge in a hiding-place. As for the pious widow, 
they forced her to go to London, there to appear before 
the judges who tried cases concerning Catholics. At her 
appearance she answered with the greatest courage, more 
like a free woman than a grievously persecuted prisoner. 
She was thrown into gaol." From Frank's deposition ' 
we learn that the search was made on the 26th of 
December, 1593. "The said examinate saith that one 
Brewster, a priest, being a tall man with a white flaxen 
beard, was at old Mrs. Wiseman's house at Northend from 
Michaelmas until Christmas last, and was in the house 
when the pursuivants were there on Wednesday the 26th 
of December last, hid in a privy place in a chimney in 
a chamber. And William Suftield, Mr. William Wiseman's 
man, came thither for him on Thursday in the Christmas 
week, at five of the clock in the night, and carried him 
to Mr. William Wiseman's house at Braddocks, as this 
examinate heard. And afterwards Suffield came again 
and rode with old Mrs. Wiseman to the Lord Rich's." 
The scat of Lord Rich was at Lee Priory, not far from 
Northend. The widow therefore was not arrested on this 

" Item, he saith that between Midsummer and Michael- 
mas last, Scudamore the priest was there by the name of 
John Wiseman and stayed there one night, and he told 

' P.R.O., Domestic, Elisabeth, vol. cxiviii. n. 103. By a singular error a 
iloplicate of this paper has been calendared under the dale of April 1606, 
Dt>mestit,James I., vol. xx. r. 52*. 

Hosted by 


The Search at Northend. 139 

this examinate that he was a priest, and that he had 
reconciled John Jeppes, Mrs. Wiseman's man, about the 
first of September. 

"Item, he saith that one Rookc Chapman, a priest born 
in Samford, came thither and stayed there but one night 
a fortnight before Christmas last. 

" Item, he saith that Mr. Gerard, alias Tanfield, alias 
Staunton, the priest Jesuit, was at Mr, William Wiseman's 
house at Braddocks all the Christmas last, and Richard 
Fulwood was his man attending on him, and was two 
years coming and going thither, and was also with Mr. 
Wiseman in Lancashire a little before Michaelmas was 
twelve months, as Ralph Willis, who then attended on 
Master Gerard, told this examinate, and were at the Lady 
Gerard's house, she being at home. 

" Item, he saith that he hath seen Mr. Gerard dine and 
sup ordinarily with Mr. Wiseman at his own table in his 
house at Braddocks about twelve months past, and that 
at Midsummer was twelve months they were both together 
in this examinate's house, and Mr. Ormes, the tailor of 
Fleet-street was there with him, and did take measure of 
Mr. Gerard by the name of Mr. Tanfield, to make him 
garments. . . . 

" Item, he saith that the said Willis told this examinate 
since his imprisonment that John Jeppes could do all the 
hurt that was to be done in revealing of matters, and that 
the said Jeppes did let Staunton [Father Gerard] and the 
said Willis through his grounds from Mr. Wiseman's house 
at Braddocks. . . . 

" Item, he saith that about three weeks before Michael- 
mas last or thereabouts, this examinate was sent by old 
Mrs. Wiseman to Mr. Gerard, from Northend to London 
with Scudamore alias John Wiseman the priest, and a boy 
named Richard Cranishe of the age of 16 years, son of 
Robert Cranishe, and afterwards Mrs. Jane Wiseman and 
Mrs. Bridget Wiseman, sisters to Mr. William Wiseman 

Hosted by 


I40 Life of Father John Gerard. 

came up also ; and William Savage, tailor, servant to old 
Mrs. Wiseman, and Richard Fulwood, Mr. Gerard's man, 
attended on them, and John Jeppes came up at the same 
time ; all of which persons, saving Jeppes, lay at this 
examinate's house a week. And then Scudamore, the two 
gentlewomen, Cranish, Savage and this cxaminate, em- 
barked themselves at Gravcsend in one Motte his bark, 
and went over to Middleburg, and there lay at one Charles 
his house about a fortnight, and then went to Antwerp, 
and this examinate returned back again ; but whether 
Mr. William Wiseman did know of their going over or no 
he cannot tell. 

"Item, he saith that Burrowes the priest told this 
examinate in Lent last that he was at Mr. William 
Wiseman's house at Braddocks and rode upon a gelding 
that Mr. William Wiseman bought of Edward Hamoiid, 
and wore Mr. Wiseman's cloak. And the said Burrowes 
did also tell this examinate that Mr. Wiseman said to him 
at his coming from him that it was very dangerous for him 
to come to this examinate's house, because of the watches 
and often searches made there. And the said Burrowes 
told this examinate also that Jeppes, meeting him riding 
by the way, did know the horse upon which he rode, and 
challenged him to be Mr. Wiseman's. 

"Item, he saith that the said Burrowes did enquire of 
this examinate where he might meet with William Suftield, 
Mr. William Wiseman's man, being then in London, and 
as Burrowes went down to Fleet-lane, he met with the 
said Suffield, and this examinate found them both together 
in a house in Fleet-lane half an hour after." 

These are the portions of Frank's depositions that bear 
on the time of the Christmas search at Northend. Imme- 
diately after the search Justice Young made his report' 
to Sir John Puckering, the Lord Keeper. " Right honour- 
able, my hearty duty remembered. This is to advertise 
' P.R.O., Domestic, Elizabeth, vol. cxlvii. n. 3 ; dated Jan. 2. IS9|, 

Hosted by 


The Search at Northend. 141 

your honour that the bearers hereof, Mr. Worsley and 
Mr. Newall," pursuivants who were Topcliffe's chief aiders 
in the searches made in the houses of CathoHcs, "hath 
been in Essex at Mrs. Wiseman's house, being a widow, 
and there they found a mass a preparing, but the priest 
escaped, but they brought from thence Robert Wiseman 
her son, and Wilham Clarke a lawyer, and Henry Cranedge 
[Cranishe] a physician, and Robert Foxe, who doth 
acknowledge themselves all to be recusants, and do deny 
to take an oath to answer truly to such matters as shall 
touch the Queen's Majesty and the State, whereupon I 
have committed them close prisoners, one from another. 
Also they found in the said house one Nicholas Norffooke, 
Samuel Savage, and one Daniell. servants unto the said 
Mrs. Wiseman ; and one Mrs. Anne Wiseman a widow, 
and Mary Wiseman her daughter, and Elizabeth Cranedge, 
and Alice Jenings wife of Richard Jenings, and Mary 
Wiseman daughter to Mr. George Wiseman of Upminster 
and [he] is in commission of the Peace : and all these in 
the said house are all recusants. Wherefore if it may 
stand with your lordship's good liking, I think it were weU 
that they were all sent for hither to be examined ; for that 
the said Mrs. Jane Wiseman her house is the only house 
of resort for all these wicked persons. She was at Wisbech 
with the Seminaries and Jesuits there, and she did repent 
that she had not gone barefooted thither, and she is a 
great reliever of them, and she made a rich vestment and 
sent it them, as your lordship doth remember, as I think, 
when you and my Lord of Buckhurst sent to Wisbech 
to search, for that I had letters which did decypher all 
her doings," 

To the widow Jane Wiseman Father Gerard now turns, 
and thinking by an error of memory when he wrote that 
she was arrested in the search at her house at Christmas 
1593, he enters into detail respecting her conduct during 
her subsequent imprisonment, and shows how she was a 

Hosted by 


142 Life of Father John Gerard. 

martyr in will, though not in deed. " As for the pious 
widow," he says, and it was true before long, " they forced 
her to go to London, there to appear before the judges 
who tried cases concerning Catholics. At her appearance 
she answered with the greatest courage, more like a free 
woman than a grievously persecuted prisoner. She was 
thrown into gaol, where she so united piety with patience, 
as to do her own work like a menial, cook her food with 
her own hands, and wanh the dishes. Her aim in this was 
to find her way by humiliations to true humility of heart, 
and also to save expense so as to be 'able to support more 
Catholics. During her imprisonment she always used to 
send me one half of her yeariy income, to wit six hundred 
florins [60/,] ; with the other half, besides many other good 
works, she maintained a priest, to bring her Holy Com- 
munion at stated times, and assist her fellow-prisoners. 
She spent all her time either in prayer or in working with 
her hands, making altar furniture which she sent to divers 
persons. The holy woman persevered in these good works, 
till in two' years' time God called her to higher things. 

'■ It was His will that the heretics should come to 
know that she received visits from a priest. If I remember 
well, the priest was Father Jones, a Franciscan Recollect, 
afterwards martyred. They resolved therefore to use the 
law against the widow. She was brought up, and the 

■ How long Jane Wiseman was in prison i.s not clear, bill il must liave 
been more than two years, as John Jones, O.S.F,, alias Godfrey Morris, alias 
Buckley, was martyred at St. Thomas Waterings on the 12th of July 1598. 
Three days after his marlyrdom Father Garnet wrote an account of it (.Stony- 
hnist MSS., Father Grene's Collfctaii. P., vol. ii. n. 40), of a portion of 
which the following is a translation. "After labouring wilh no little fruit for 
nearly three years in the Lord's Vineyard, he lived for about two years in 
prison, of which one was leas strict custody, and that in a way thai was very 
woodeifu! on account of the almost incredible concourse of Catholics. This 
was a fruitful year for him, though spent in a barren field, and he might for 
a still longer time have borne himself bravely in God's husbandry, if in God's 
Providence that Topciiffe who is so well known to the whole world, had not 
cither become greedy of the goods of two Catholics or envious of Iheir con- 
stancy. Some traitor let Topciiffe know that for some time before his appre- 

Hosted by 


The Search at Northend. 143 

usual false witnesses appeared, to accuse her of being privy 
to the maintenance of priests, contrary to the law of the 
land. The judges at once empanelled a jury, to pronounce 
her guilty or not guilty. The godly woman seeing that 
the consciences of the jury would be stained with her 
blood, if she let them give their verdict in the case, made 
up her mind to hold her peace and answer nought to the 
judges' demand whether she was guilty or not guilty. At 
the same time she knew well the provision of the law, 
that men or women who refused to plead in a matter of 
life and death should have far more keen and dreadful 
torments than convicted felons. They are laid on their 
backs upon a sharp stone ; then a heavy weight is put 
upon their breasts, which crushes the sufferer to death. 
Till the time of which I treat we had only had two female 
martyrs, not counting the Queen of Scots. One named 
CJitherow,' at York, chose the same sort of martyrdom 
as the widow, and for the same reason, namely, to spare 
the consciences of the jury, who she was sure would find 
her guilty as usual to please the judges, even though 
conscious of the injustice they were doing. The godly 
widow of whom I am speaking, resolved to follow this 
holy martyr's example. She had made up her mind to 
take the same course and bear the same punishment So 
for her silence she was sentenced to be crushed to death. 

hen Ih K d F th h d f m t es f p ty t d (w p rsona 

who h h sa pnson M R b rt B t [B raes] d Mrs. 

Jane W m m t 11 t w wh h d Iw so in Ih &oc ty ; 

that hhdlydtwdy hh hd Ibtditias bef hm, 

and h d dm y f m th ro T p 1 d" h (h p t t the 

beg g f J ly p t th m th tn 1 g th f p t 1 ff nee 

foe helping a priest with m y Th y w both demned, and Mrs W se 
man, who refused to be ] dg d by th tw 1 ] rjn en lest they hould be 
guilty of her blood and gn ant m n h Id n h r account n u e ernal 
damnation, was condemned to the extremely cruel de th of being crashed by 
heavy weights placed on her breast. At this sentence with a heerful and 
steady countenance she said in Latin, what she had always had e e y moment 
on her lips, Deo gratia!. It is the common opinion that both will be spa ed 
' Tmubles, Third Series, p. 431. 

Hosted by 


144 Life of Fathtr John Gerard. 

She went from the court rejoicing that she had been held 
worthy to quit life in this manner for the name of Jesus. 
However, on account of her ranlt, and the good name 
which she had, the Queen's councillors would not let such 
barbarity be practised in London. So they transferred 
her alter her condemnation to a more loathsome prison, 
and kept her there. They wanted at the same time to 
seize her income for the Queen. Now if she had been 
dead, this income would not have gone to the Queen, but 
to the widow's son, my host. The godly woman therefore 
lived in this prison, reft of her goods but not of her life, 
of which she most desired to be reft. She pined in a 
narrow and filthy cell till the accession of King James, 
when, as is usual at the crowning of a new king, she 
received a pardon, and returned home; where she now 
serves the servants of God, and has two of ours with her 
in the house. So much then for the good widow ; to 
return to ourselves." 

Hosted by 


CHAPTER xrrr. 

Failing to apprehend Father Gerard or any other priest 
at Mrs. Wiseman's house at Northend, the next proceeding 
of the persecutors was to try what could be found at the 
house taken in Golding-lane. Father Garnet, in a letter' 
to Father Persons at Rome, dated the 6th of September, 
1594, and therefore long enough after the event to contain 
some account of Father Gerard's subsequent apprehension 
and imprisonment, thus describes this search. "The Friday 
night before Passion Sunday [March 1 5] was such a hurly- 
burly in London as never was seen in man's memory; 
no, not when Wyatt was at the gates. A general search 
in all London, the Justices and chief citizens going in 
person ; all unknown persons taken and put in churches 
till the next day. No Catholics found but one poor 
tailor's house at Golding-lane end, which was esteemed 
such booty as never was got since this Queen's days. 
The tailor and divers others there taken lie yet in prison, 
and some of them have been tortured. That mischance 
touched us near; they were our friends and chiefest 
instruments. That very night had been there Long John 
with the little beard, once your pupil [in the margin is 
written John Gerard] if I had not more importunately 
stayed him than ever before. But soon after he was 
apprehended, being betrayed we know not how ; he will 
be stout I doubt not. He hath been very close, but now 
is removed from the Counter to the Clink, where he may 
■ Slonj-hurst MSS., Father Gtene's Collcctan. P. vol. ii. p. 550. 

Hosted by 


146 Life of Father John Gerard, 

in time do much good. He was glad of Mr. Homulus ' 
his company, but he had been taken from him and carried 
to Newgate, whence he hopcth to redeem him again." 

Before hstening to Father Gerard's account of the 
search at Golding-lane, we will make the persecutors give 
theirs. And first, the magistrates employed by the Lord 
Keeper of the Great Seal made the following report,' 
dated March 16, 159$. "We have made search according 
to your Honour's direction. We find four persons greatly 
to be suspected, videlicet in a house lately builded in the 
upper end oi Golding-lane. They were very loth to 
permit us to come into the said house: it seemed they 
sought all means to have escaped. When we came into 
the house, he which opened the door said his name was 
Wallis, and that by occupation he was a tailor. One 
other we found iay hidden under stairs behind a door. 
His name he said was likewise Wallis. We found 
two other in an upper chamber In one bed, the one 
having his clothes upon. They said they were brethren, 
and their names were Fulwood. They said they had 
been serving-men, but upon divers questions demanded, 
they seemed to vary. So likewise did the two Wallisses, 
for not any one of them could tell an even tale. One 
of the said Wallisses said he loved a mass, and that he 
had heard mass, as well in Queen Mary's time as in her 
Majesty's time. Being demanded whether he were a 
Seminary or Jesuit, answered, 'O Lord, no! I am not 
learned. I would to God I were worthy to carry their 
shoes,' and such like words, &c. He said to some of the 
officers he was glad that we had made a search in that 
house this night, for now should he suffer some perse- 
cution for his religion. It seemed they were all masterfess 

■ Mr. "Homulus" is Ralph Emerson, the lay-biother. of whom Father 
Campion wrote to the General, //ot/«/«j miu! d igo, "My little man and I.' 
It was of the greatest consequence that no names to strike the eye shoulii 
appear in letters, in case they were intercepted. 

' P.R.O., Domistic, Etizabdh, vol. cciiviii. n. 31. 

Hosted by 


The Search at Golding-lane. 147 

men : but one of the Wallisses said he was servant to the 
master of that house, and that his master was in the 
country, but he said he knew not his master. There 
was vety great store of new apparel, as hose, doublets, 
in great quantity, which WalHs said he had made, but 
knew not the owners of any one parcel of the same. We 
found some letters, which being well perused we think 
will discover much. We found beads of certain stone or 
amber, and pictures in paper. We committed these four 
to several prisons : and think we shall deliver the rest of 
our travail better by speech to your Honour. 

"Your Honour's humble at command, 
" Ro. Watson. Edw. Vaughan." 

Endorsed—" Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Watson. The two 
Fullwoods in the Counters. The Wallis in Newgate and 
Finsbury prison." 

The capture of William Wiseman is not mentioned in 
the State Papers, but we learn the manner of it from 
Father Gerard. After his being taken, Justice Young sent 
on the 14th of April to Lord Keeper Puckering" "the 
names of them that were found in Mr. Wiseman's house; 
John Fuhvood, Richard Fulwood, Richard WaUis, William 
Wallis, William Suffield, Ralph Williamson, John Stratforde. 
These men are all recusants, and will not take an oath 
to the Queen's Majesty, nor to answer to anything. One 
Thomas was apprehended when his master was taken, and 
he fled away with his master's best gelding and a handful 
of gold that his master gave him. All these were servants 
to Mr. William Wiseman, who is a continual receiver of 
all Seminary priests, and went to Wisbech to visit the 
priests and Jesuits there, and since his imprisonment there 
was a Seminary priest in his house which escaped away 
from the Justices and pursuivants, and left his apparel 
behind him." This was, as we shall see. Father Gerard 
himself, and later on he was made to try on the clothes 
* P.R.O., Donmtk, Elkabetk, vol. ccxiviii. n. 68, I. 

Hosted by 


148 Life of Father Jolm Gerard. 

thus found, and "they were just a fit." All this was to 
prove Mr. Wiseman guilty of harbouring him, "which," 
Father Gerard says, " they were never able to do." Justice 
Young adds, "Mrs. Jane Wiseman, his mother, hath been 
also a great receiver and harbourer of Seminary priests, 
and went to Wisbech with her two daughters, where (as 
she salth) she was absolved and blessed by Father 
Edmonds the Jesuit, and since that time her daughters 
are sent beyond seas to be professed nuns, as other two 
her daughters were before, and she hath a son named 
Thomas who is a Jesuit in Rome or in Spain. 

"Robert Wiseman, her other son, is also an obstinate 
recusant and will by no means take an oath. He is 
prisoner In the Clink. Mrs. Jenlngs. her kinswoman, 
sojourned in her house and is a perverse recusant 

" Henry Cranlshe, William Gierke, Robert Foxe, three 
recusants did sojourn in her house and were apprehended 
"Anne Wiseman, widow, Mary Wiseman, spinster, 
Elizabeth Cranlshe, wife of Robert Cranlshe, Elizabeth 
Crowe alias Lowe, all these perverse recusants and were 
abiding with Mrs. Wiseman and taken in her house. 

" Mr. Wiseman and his mother had many more servants, 
both men and maids, all which were recusants, and none 
of them would come to church, to the great offence and 
scandal of all her Majesty's good subjects in that country." 
As this was written after the subsequent search at Brad- 
docks, which was on the ist of April, Young has included 
all the prisoners taken on both occasions. At Golding- 
lane Father Gerard tells us, in accordance with the magiS- 
trates' report, "three Catholics and one schismatic " were 
taken, of whom the latter was the tailor, the ostensible 
owner of the house. 

Father Gerard tells his story thus. " The hidden traitor 
[John Frank], wholly unknown to his master, was watching 
his chance of giving us op without betraying his own 
treachery. At first he settled to have me seized in a 

Hosted by 


The Search at Golding-lane. 149 

house [in Golding-lane], which had been lately hired in 
London to answer my own and my friend's purposes. 
From his master's employing him in many affairs, he could 
not help knowing the place which his master had hired 
for my use. Consequently he promised the magistrates 
to tell them when I was coming, so that they might 
surround the house during the night with their officers 
and cut off my escape. The plan would have succeeded, 
had not God brought it to pass otherwise through an act 
of obedience. 

" My Superior [Father Garnet] had lately come to live 
four or five miles from London." I had gone to see him, 
and had been with him a day or two, when, having 
business in London, I wrote to those who kept the house 
to expect me on such a night, and bring in certain friends 
whom I wanted to set The traitor, who was now often 
seen in the house, which belonged ostensibly to his master, 
learnt the time, and got the priest-hunters to come there 
at midnight with their band. 

"Just before mounting my horse to depart, I went to 
take leave of my Superior. He would have me stay that 
night. I told him my business, and my wish to keep my 
appointment with my friends; but the blessed Father 
would not allow it, though as he said afterwards, he knew 
no reason, nor was it his wont to act in this manner. 
Without doubt he was guided by the Holy Ghost ; for 
early next morning we heard that some Papists had been 
seized in that house, and the story ran that a priest was 
among them. The fact was that my servant, Richard 
Fulwood, was caught trying to hide himself in a dark 
place, there being as yet no regular hiding-places, though 

' Three years later, that isjn March 159;, Father Garnet was living neat 
UxbtnJge, iz or 13 miles from London in a house calletl Morecroftes. He 
hati at the same time a house in' Spitalfields. Tr!,^bhT, First Series, pp 177 
179. Later on he lived at White Webbs in Enheld Chase, called "D, 
Hemckshouse." V.K.Q,, Gunfmui/ir Flel Beok,xi. to. 

Hosled by 


150 Life of Father John Gerard. 

I meant to make some. As he cut a good figure, and 
neither the traitor nor any one else that knew him was 
there, he was taken for a priest. Three Catholics and one 
schismatic were seized and thrown into prison. The 
ktter was a Catholic at heart, but did not refuse to go 
to the heretics' churches. As he was a trusty man, I 
employed him as keeper of the house, to manage any 
business in the neighbourhood. At their examination they 
all showed themselves steadfast and true, and answered 
nothing that could give the enemy any inkling that the 
house belonged to me instead of to my host. It was 
well that it was so ; for things would have gone harder 
with the latter had it been otherwise. The magistrates 
sent him a special summons, in the hope that my arrest 
would enable them to make out a stronger case against 
him. As soon as he arrived in London, he went straight 
to the house, never dreaming what had happened there, 
in order to treat with me as to the reason of his summons, 
and how he was to answer it. So he came and knocked 
at the door. It was opened to him at once; but, poor 
sheep of Christ, he fell into the clutches of wolves, instead 
of the arms of his shepherd and friend. For the house 
had been broken into the night before, and there were 
some ministers of Satan still lingering there, to watch 
for any Catholics that might come, before all got scent 
of the danger. Out came these men then ; the good 
gentleman found himself ensnared, and was led prisoner 
to the magistrates. ' How many priests do you keep in 
your house ? ' ' Who are they ? ' were the questions 
poured in upon him on all sides. He made answer that 
harbouring priests was a thing punishable with death, and 
so he had taken good care not to run such a risk. On 
their still pressing him, he said that he was ready ta 
meet any accusation that could be brought against him 
on this head. However they would not hint anything 
about me, because though disappointed this time, they 

Hosted by 


The Search at Golding-lane. 151 

still hoped to catch me later, as the traitor was as yet 

"My host had on hand a translation of a work of 
Father Jerome Platus, 'On the happiness of a Religious 
State,' He had just finished the second part, and brought 
it with him to see me about it When he was seized, these 
papers were seized too. Being asked what they were; 
he said it was a book of devotion. Now the heretics 
are wont to pry into any writings that they find, because 
they are afraid of anything being published against them- 
selves and their false doctrine. Not having time to go 
on with the whole case, they were very earnest about 
his being answerable for those papers. He said that there 
was nothing contained in them against the State or 
against sound teaching ; and offered on the spot to prove 
the righteousness and holiness of everything that was 
there set down. In so doing, as he told me afterwards, 
he felt great comfort at having to answer for so good a 
book. He was thrown into prison, and kept in such close 
confinement that only one of his servants was allowed 
to go near him, and that was the traitor. Knowing that 
his master had no inkling of his bad faith, they hoped 
by his means to find out my retreat and seize my person 
much sooner than they could otherwise have done." 

The following is William Wiseman's examination,' in 
which will be found the defence of Father Jerome Platus, 
which Father Gerard so accurately remembered and em- 
bodied in his narrative. 

"The examination of William Wiseman of Wimbish ia 
the county of Essex, gentleman, taken the 19th day of 
March in the six and thirtieth year of her Majesty's reign 

" He saith that he had the murrey [mulberry coloured] 
beads (showed unto him upon his examination) of a gentle- 
woman and friend of his, and that he will not tell her 
■ P.R.O., DomesHc, Eliiabefh, vol. ccxlviii. n. 36. 

Hosted by 


152 Life of Father John Gerard. 

name for that she is a Catholic, as he termeth her ; and 
saith that he hath had these beads about a year and a 
quarter, and received the same at Wimbish aforesaid at 
his house there called Broadoaks ; and saith now, upon 
better advertisement, that his sister Bridget Wiseman, 
now being beyond sea, did get the same beads and string 
the same for him this examinate, but where she had them 
he cannot tell. Being demanded whether he know a book 
(showed to him upon his examination) called Bnmarium 
Romanmn, he denieth that he knoweth the book or whose 
it is. He supposeth that a letter showed unto him upon 
his examination, beginning Dear son, titis day, &c. &c., 
and ending with Commendations to all my friends is his 
mother's own handwriting, and sent unto him this exami- 
nate to his house aforesaid to-morrow shall be a seven- 

"And saith that a friend of his hath hired the house 
in Golding-lane where he was apprehended, but denieth 
to tell his name for charity' sake ; but saith that his friend 
hired it of Mr. Tute dwelling in the next house unto it, 
and saith that he hired it this last term. And saith that 
his friend did hire the said house for him this examinate 
and his mother, and saith that he was never at the house 
before but came to the said house by such description as 
his friend made to him of it, and that this examinate 
came thither on Saturday at night to lie there, and his 
man (whose name he mill not tell' is Richard Fulwood) 
provided him by his commandment and appointment a 
bed and furniture belonging to the same in the same 
house, and knoweth not whether the bedding was in the 
house before he this examinate hired the said house or no, 
but thinketh some of the bedding that now is there was 
in the house before. 

■ In the original the words "is Richard Fulwood " are interlined, and " 
1 not tell underlined or erased. 

Hosled by 


The Search at Golding-lane. 153 

" He saith that the said Richard Fulwood hath served 
him about Shrovetide last was two years.' 

"And saith that since he this examinate was confined, 
he hath used John Fulwood, brother to the said Richard 
Fulwood, in travelling about his business. 

" And saith that his servant Thomas Barker, after he 
was apprehended and under arrest, was sent by this 
examinate to his inn, to return to him again, as he saith ; 
and further saith that before the said Thomas Barker went 
out of the constable's custody, he this examinate laid two 
angels^ In the headborough's hand and to take them to 
his own use if his servant did not return again. He 
thinketh he is gone to this examinate's house, and denieth 
that he gave any message to the said Thomas Barker, 
save only that he should signify to his housekeeper where 
he thi.s examinate was ; and saith that Thomas Barker 
hath dwelt with him above a year past, and was com- 
mended to him by a friend of his being a Catholic, and 
refuseth to tell his name ; and saith that both his said 
servants have been recusants ever since they dwelt with 

"And confesseth that a book entitled Hieronyini Plati^ 
lie Societale Jesu de bono statu religionis is his own, and 
that he caused the same to be bought at Cawood's shop 
in Paul's Churchyard, and saith that the book containeth 
nothing but true doctrine, and that he translated it 
through with his own hand — which was found and yet 
remaineth^the book ; and that his servant Richard 
Fulwood bought the same, and [that he] hath had it or 
the like by the space of these two years and more ; and 
saith that certain of his friends [being learned erased^ 

• This may serve to help to fix the date of Father Gerard's going to live at 
Braddocks. " Shrovetide last was two years " will have been the days pre- 
ceding Ash Wednesday, Feb. 8, lS9i. 

" The angel was worth los. 

3 In the Calendar of Slate Papers the name h ndsiead fmJati. 

Hosted by 


1 54 Life of Father John Gerard. 

coming to him this examinate, he this examinate com- 
mended the said book to them to be a good book, and 
delivered the same book to them to be seen and read of; 
and saith within the said two years he this examinate 
bought divers of the said book, and hath sent of the same 
to some of the examinate's friends, as namely to the 
priests at Wisbech, that is to say, Father Edmonds and 
to no other by name but to him, but generally to the 
priests, which is about a year past ; and that the said 
Father Edmonds returned thanks [in] answer to the 
examinate that he liked the book very well ; and this 
book he sent and received answer by his said servant 
Thomas Barker, who was born in Norwich ; and saith 
that this examinate hath read over the first and half the 
second of the said book unto the !2th chapter, and that 
he dare to take upon him to defend so much to be sound 
and true; and saith that this examinate was with Father 
Edmonds at Wisbech about Michaelmas last was twelve- 
months [1591], and there saw and spake with him both 
privately and in company. 

"W. Wiseman. 

" Examined by Edw. Coke, Will. Danyell, Edw.Vaughan, 
R. Watson, Rye. Young." 

Hosted by 



The examinations of tlie other persons taken at Golding-Iane 
are thrown into a note, as in the text they would check the 
progress of the narrative. 

"2omo. Martii, 1593. John Bolt, of the City of Exeter, of 
the age of thirty years or thereabout, examined the day and 
year abovesaid, saith as followeth : 

" The said John Bolt saith he serveth not any nor hath done 
this half year or more, and did lastly serve Sir John Petre, 
and was discharged out of his service about Midsummer last 
past : and went then first after into Warwickshire to Mr. Verney 
his house to teach Mr. Bassett's children to sing and play on the 
virginalls : and sithence for the most part with one Mr. Morgan 
Robins, a gentleman that hath a lodging in Finsbury fields, where 
sometime he lay when the said Mr. Morgan lodged there. And 
being demanded what was the cause of his repair to the house in 
the upper end of Guldmg hne, saith that the cause of his last 
repair thither was to fetch a pair of stockings he had left there. 
And the first time of his commg thither was but about the end of 
Hilary term last past, and sithem e four or five several times he 
hath been there. And now at his coming to the house, [he] came 
from out of Essex from one Mr. Wiseman his house, called 
Braddocks, where he had been all that week, and came to 
William Wallis, 

"And saith that one book bound in parchment, beginning 
with a piece of Scripture, viz.. There is no other Name unda- 
Heaven, &c., &c., is his book and of his writing. And also one 
Iktle book written, called St. Peter's ComplatTit is his, but of 
whose writing he knowelh not, but borrowed it of Mr. Wiseman. 
Being showed one paper book which was read to him, after he 
had seen the same, saith that the same little paper book which 
was found in his cloak-bag, containing about a dozen leaves of 
paper containing matter of Campion, whereof two written and 
the other six unwritten is his, and that he wrote the same with 
his own hand and copied it forth out of one other written book 

Hosted by 


156 Life of Father John Gerard. 

he borrowed of one Harry Souche servant to Mr. Morgan, who 
he thinketh went away from the said Mr. Morgan about three 
years sithence and hath heard he is beyond the sea. And that 
he hath had the same book these five or six years, but did not 
deliver any copies thereof to anybody. 

"John Bolt. 
" Edw. Vaghan 

Maltus Ayard 

John Cornwall 

Edward Caterward." 

"The examination of John Bolt, late of Thomdon in the 
County of Essex, yeoman, taken the 21st day of March, 1593. 

" He confesseth that certain leaves containing divers and many 
verses beginning Why do I use my paper, pen, and ink ? &c., &c., 
and ending thus To Jesu's Name which such a man did raise ? 
is all of his own handw ng a d that he ote tl e san e about 
five years past in London out of a pape h h one Henry 
Souche, servant to Mr. Mo n del ed h M Mo g ns 

house in Finsbury field ; and that he hath ead the san e thence 
about five or six times. 

" And saith that about he end of he la em he eso ted 
to the said house in Gold ng lane f on M W em n s house 
called Braddocks, and s n e ha n e he ha 1 re o ed o the 
said house about five o s t me and h nketh I at the sa d 
house is Mr. Wiseman's d know h bo h h nen R ha d 
and William Wallis, who keep the a d hou e 

"John Bolt." 

" 21P10. MartiL The said Bolt being further examined upon 
his oath saith that he hath not been at church by the space of 
these two years, neither received at any time these seven years. 

"Being demanded who did reconcile him from the Church 
of England to the Romish Church, desireth to be pardoned, for 
he will not answer thereto, albeit his oath taken, and also chained 
as a Catholic. 

" Being also further demanded if the Pope or King of Spain 
should invade the land and bring in any foreign power to the 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XIII. 


end to plant the Romish religion, whether then he would take 
part with the said Pope or King of Spain, or with her Majesty, 
being her Highness' natural subject born, and defend this religion 
here planted and established — to this he will not answer. 

"John Bolt. 
" Rye. Voung 
Edff. Vaghan."' 

This is Mr. John Bolt of whose talent for music Father 
Gerard has already spoken and of whom the Chronicler of 

St. Monica's Convent at Lo^'-'^i" 

so interesting ■ 

in account ' 

He had lived " for two ot 
request for his voice and 



g gr 

g err 

desire to become a Catho 


came to live among Cat! 


m h 

reconciled." "The Queei 

g h 

d h 


out with the Master of U 


d h 

g li p 

toufle at his head for looki 



secretly in gentlemen's hi 


his good parts." The go 

apprehension TopcHffe toe 

w d 

fellow was mistaken. Not 




prisoner and caused also ir 



took care of him and ma 

h h 

K. gh 

to take his defence in hand, wnen 

the cruel 


cliffe sought 

to bring him torments that he might compel him to confess what 
he knew of priests and Catholics, then did his friends so work 
for him that the Lady Rich wrote in his behalf a letter, having 
known him in the Court ; so that at length, after much ado, he 
got free out of danger." Notwithstanding an offer " to live in 
the Court at his pleasure without molestation for his conscience," 
he went over to St. Omers where in due time he was made priest, 
and going to Louvain in 1613 to be present at Sister Magdalen 
Throckmorton's profession, he was induced to remain at St. 
Monica's Convent "to maintain their music to the honour and 
glory of God," and there he died August 3, 1640. 

' P.K.O., Domestk, Elisabak, vol. cexlviii. nn. 37, 38, 39. 
= Troubles, ist serLes, p. 297. 

Hosted by 


158 Life of Father John Gerai-d. 

It is touching to see the books he carried about with him, 
for the possession of which he was called in question. The first, 
which he had written out for himself, " beginning with a piece 
of Scripture," was it is needless to say that beautiful devotion 
known among Catholics by the name of the "Jesus Psalter." 
It is ascribed to one of the Bridgettine monks of Sion House, 
and as the lists of papers found on recusants in searches show, 
it was a very favourite devotion with our persecuted ancestors 
and helped to maintain their fervour in their trials. It is to be 
regretted that it should now be comparatively forgotten. 

St. Peter's Complaint is Father Southwell's poem," and the 
"matter of Campion" beginning Why do I use my paper, pen, 
and ink ? is Father Henry Walpole's, written by him shortly after 
the conversion which he attributed to the warm blood of Father 
Campion which fell upon him at his martyrdom. 

We have still to give the examinations' of the servants who were 
taken in Golding-lane. We are glad of any information respecting 
the faithful Richard Fulwood, by whose means, as we shall subse- 
quently see, Father Gerard escaped from the Tower. 

"The examination of Richard Fulwood taken the 21st day 
of March, 1593. 

" He saith that he was born at Weston in Warwickshire, and 
that his father Thomas Fulwood and Alice Fulwood his mother 
dwelt there ; and knows not what his grandfather's name [was] j 
and that his mother's name was Allen before her marriage ; and 
knoweth that she had a brother called Allen but knoweth not 
his Christian name and knoweth not whether she had any more 
brothers or no ; but knoweth not where her brother dwelt : and 
knoweth not whether she had any sisters or no, neither what 
countrywoman she was, and saith that he hath no sisters and 
that he hath three brethren, William the eldest dwells with his 

' The poem was published at the end of the conlemporaiy black letter 
"True report of the marlyidom of Mr. Campian, writlen by a Catholic priest," 
and it appeared in the Month for January — February, 1872, p. 116. Father 
Christopher Grene (Calleclan. A: I, f. 3 ; Stonyhurst MSS.) says that of the 
four poems annexed to the black letter book. Father Walpole was the author 
of the first two, and he adds from a letter of Father Persons that if Walpole 
had not fled he would have lost his ears (or writing them, as Valenger did. 

"_P,R.O., Domestic, Elitabil/i, vol. ccxlviii. n. 40. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XIII. 159 

mother, liis second brother Anthony dwells also with his mother, 
and tlie third John ; and knoweth not how many brethren or 
sisters his father had, or whether he had any or no. 

"And saith that he never served Mt. Wiseman as his servant, 
and saith that for this year and more he hath served no man. 
And the last man that he served was Richard Allen, my old 
Lord Windsor's steward, and that he served hirei about half a 
dozen years ; and before that he served Mr. Foljambe of Derby- 
shire, Sir James Foljambe's son, and served him twelve years ; 
and before that served old Mrs. Foljambe of Calburgh in Derby- 
shire by the apace of a year or thereabouts; and denieth that 
he was ever in Mr. Wiseman's house at Braddocks, but saith 
that he hath been with his (examinate's) mother this last year 
and was maintained by her and that which he had gotten in 
services, and saith that he was never at the said house in GoJding- 
lane before Wednesday at night the last week, neither knoweth 
Mr. Wiseman nor his mother, nor ever was at Mr. Wiseman's 
house at Braddocks ; and saith that he never received the com- 
munion in his lifetime ; and knoweth not whether a gentleman 
or gentlewoman either lay in that house or dined or supped there 
on Wednesday or Thursday the last week. 

" Saith that he came from his mother's house at his last 
coming to this town, but where he lay or baited by the way he 
knoweth not, but saith he came to the town on Wednesday 
was sevennight. He met with William Wallis in the street and 
hath been acquainted, but knoweth not where or how long, and 
that the said Wallis desired him (this examinate) home to the 
said house. 


"The examination of John Tarboocke taken the day and 
year aforesaid. 

" He saith that one called Little Richard have been divers 
times within this last year at Mr. Wiseman's house at Braddocks, 
and that he hath tarried there sometime a week and sometime 
a night, and sometimes more and sometimes less ; when he 
waiteth there and carrieth up meat to dinner and supper as 
other of his master's servants have done; and did wear such 

Hosted by 


i6o Life of Father John Gerard. 

a cloak with sleeves as other of his master's men did ; which 
cloak he yet weareth : and being now confronted with the said 
Little Richard, who calleth himself Richard Fulwood, affirmeth 
lo his face all this examinate's confession to be tnie. And saith 
that he never heard the said Little Richard called Richard 

"Examined by us." [Not signed.] 

" The examination of John Fulwood taken the day and year 

" He saith that his father's name was Thomas Fulwood and 
his mother's name is Alice ; and that her name before her 
marriage was Allen ; and that she had divers brethren Thomas, 
William, Robert and John, and that she had three sisters but 
what their names were he knowetb not. And that this examinate 
was born in Staffordshire, at Weston where his father and mother 
dwelt; and saith that he hath five brethren; and denieth that 
he hath been at Mr. Wiseman's at Braddocks but in his father's 
lifetime and never since; but being confronted by the said John 
Tarboock, who affirmed that he saw him at Braddocks since 
Christmas last, confesseth the same to be true ; and that he was 
called there Lazy John, and was not there called John Fulwood, 
and saith that about two months ago he was first at the said 
house in Golding-lane, and meeting with Richard Wallis, the 
tailor, he carried him to the said house in Golding-lane, but 
tarried not there and lay at the Ram Inn in Smithfield and from 
thence went to Mr. Thomas Baskervile in Norfolk and tarried 
there two or three days, and from thence he went to Staffordshire 
to his mother's house and tarried three weeks with his brother 
Richard Fulwood, and then they came away together but parted 
by the way, and this examinate to Burton the first night, and 
the second night to Leicester, and the third to Northampton, 
and from thence to St. Alban's, and so to London. 

"John Fulwood." 

"The examination of William Suffield the day and year 

" He saith that he hath seen the said John Fulwood at Mr. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XIII. i6i 

Wiseman's house twice within this two years as he thinketh, and 
that Richard Fulwood was Mr. Wiseman's servant, and served 
him about a quarter of a year after this examinate came to 
Mr, Wiseman, and never heard either the said Richard or John 
called Richard Fulwood or John Fulwood hut only Richard 
and John, and confesseth that he was a weaver by his occupation 
and used his trade in Norfolk before his coming to Mr. Wiseman's 

"All these former examinations were taken by us 
" Edw. Coke Edw. Vaughan Rye. Topcliffe 

Willm. Danyell Rye. Young."' 

It does not seem probable .that Richard Fulwood was a 
Jesuit lay-brother, as Dr Oliver calls him. When Father Gerard 
describes those who seried him, he carefully mentions in the 
other cases those who entered the Society. When Fulwood 
landed in Belgium with Fither Gerard himself in May 1606 
Father Bildwin wrote to F-ither Persons, "I take it he be 
Jesuit alio, but m July when he had seen him at Brussels he 
simply calls him Richard Fulwood. When Father Gerard wrote 
in 1609 he only says of him that "he yet remains in banishment, 
doing good service to our mission notwithstanding." Dr. Ohver 
asserts that he "died at Liege in a good old age, September 18, 
1641." This however is extremely doubtful, and rests on what 
is apparently a misprint in the Annual Letters of that year, 
which call the Richard Fulwood who then died at Llcge "a 
temporal coadjutor." If he had been Father Gerard's Richard 
Fulwood, his life would not have been passed over without 
mention ; and the Summaria DefundoJtim and Florus Angle- 
Bavaricus, the latter a Li^ge book, both say that Richard 
Fulwood who died at Li^ge in 1O41 was a scholastic in his 
second year of Theology. 

■ P.R.O., DoptalU, Eli%abitk, vol. ccxlviii. n. 40. 

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"On learning the seizure of our house in London," Father 
Gerard continues, "and my host's imprisonment, I went 
to his country house to settle with his wife and friends 
what was to be done, and put all our effects in safe 
keeping. As we wanted the altar furniture for the ap- 
proaching Easter, we sent very little of it to our friends. 
Of course I could not stay away from my entertainers 
at so holy a time, especially as they were in sorrow and 
trouble. In Holy Week the treacherous servant came 
from London with a letter from his master, wherein the 
latter set forth all that had befallen him, the questions 
that had been put to him, and his answers. This letter, 
though seen, had been let pass for the credit of the bearer, 
to give him a chance of seeing whether I was in the house 
at this solemn season. He brought me another letter from 
my servant, whose capture I spoke of above. When by 
the traitor's information they knew him to be my servant, 
hoping to wrest from him the disclosure of his friends and 
abettors, they kept him in solitary confinement in the 
loathsome prison of Bridewell. The purport of the letteri 
wh hdddr\gh hdbn 

Hosted by 


Search at Braddocks. 163 

held out to him, and what his sufferings were in prison. 
He had, he said, hardly enough black bread to keep him 
from starving ; his abode was a narrow strongly built cell, 
in which there was no bed, so that he had to sleep sitting 
on the window-sill without taking off his clothes. There 
was a little straw in the place, but it was so trodden down 
and covered with vermin that he could not lie on it. But 
what was most intolerable to him was their leaving all that 
came from him in an open vessel in that narrow den, 
so that he was continually distressed and almost stifled by 
the smell. Besides all this he was daily awaiting an ex- 
amination by torture. 

"While reading the letter to my hostess in the presence 
of the traitor, I chanced to say at this last part, ' I wish I 
could bear .some of his tortures so that there might be 
less for him.' It was these words of mine that let us 
know later on who was the traitor, and author of all 
our woes. For when I was taken and questioned, and 
declared that I was quite unacquainted with the family, 
those who were examining me forgot their secret, and cried 
out, 'What lies you tell ! — did you not say so and so before 
such a lady, as you read your servant's letter ? ' But I still 
denied it, giving them good reasons however why, even if 
it had been true, I could and ought to have denied it."' 

The paragraph in Frank's examination, to which 
Father Gerard refers, runs thus: " Itmn, he saith that the 

' It will be noticed both from this passage and many others, that the 
persecuted Catholics Toll owed that common doctrine of Theolc^ians, in^n- 
tained also by many Protestanf moralists, that an unjust oppressor has no 
right to exact or expect true answers from his victims, if such true answers 
would help his unjust designs, except where the question is of the faith of the 
prisoner. It is quite likely that many will be startled now-a-days at such 
direct denials, owing to our present freedom from those extreme circumstances 
in which such denials were made. The English law, with a tenderness then 
unknown, now protects a man from all efforts to make him criminate himself, 
and it encourages every one who is on his trial to plead "Not guilty." The 
persecutors themselves, who showed such indignation at their victims' false- 
hoods, told lies vjiXtxaiSJis^aHy in order to ensiiari Ihi Catholks : a thing which 
no code of morality ever countenanced, whether Catholic or Protestant, This 
subject will be more fully discussed in the sequel. 

Hosted by 


1 64 Life of Father John Gerard. 

said Gerard lay one night at the Lady Mary's in Black- 
friars (as he thinketh) a little before Easter last.' and 
Ralph Willis, his servant, lay that night at this examinate's 
house, and that Richard Fulwood, since his imprisonment 
in Bridewell at Easter last, wrote a letter and sent it from 
Bridewell to the Lady Mary's, and there this examinate 
received it and went down with it to Mr. Gerard, who was 
at Mr. William Wiseman's house at Braddocks all the 
Easter last, and hidden in the house while the pursuivants 
were there, which letters aforesaid this examinate did 
deliver to Ralph Willis, who carried them immediately to 
Mr. Gerard. And this examinate .saw the letters in Mr. 
Gerard's hands, and heard him read them. Wherein 
Fulwood wrote that he expected torture every day, and 
Mr. Gerard wished that he might bear some of FuJwood's 

"Scarcely had I done so," Father Gerard resumes, 
"when the searchers broke down the door and forcing 
their way in, spread through the house with great 
noise and racket. Their first step was to lock up the 
mistress of the house in her own room with her two 
daughters ;2 and the Catholic servants they kept locked 
up in divers places in the same part of the house. 
They then took to themselves the whole which 
was of a good size, and made a thorough search in 
every part, not forgetting even to look under the tiles of 
the roof. The darkest comers they examined with the 
help of candles. Finding nothing whatever, they began to 

■ The Lady Mary Percy, of whom mention has been previously made, 
fahe was a devout Catholic, and had come to London a little before my 
imprisonment, to gel my help in passing over lo Belgium, there lo consecrrtt 
herself to God. She was staying at the house of her sister," who hart lost the 
^ith, Jane, the wife of Lord Henry Seymour, with whose Protestant servants 
talher Gerard was confronted later on. " I dined with them on the day the 
witnesses mentioned. It was Lent ; and thev told how their mistress ate meat 
while the Lady Mary and I ate nothine but fish " (iW/r p 195) ' 

^^^ ' Dorothy and Winifred Wiseman ; the youngest of whom was ten years 

Hosted by 


Search at BraJdocks. 165 

break c3own certain places that they suspected. They 
measured the walls with long rods, so that if they did not 
tally, they might pierce the part not accounted for. Thus 
they sounded the walls and all the floors, to find out and 
break into any hollow places that there might 'be. 

" They spent two days in this work without finding 
anything. Thinking therefore that I had gone on Easter 
Sunday, the two magistrates went away on the second day, 
leaving the pursuivants to take the mistress of the house, 
and all her Catholic servants of both sexes, to London, to 
be examined and imprisoned. They meant to leave some 
who were not Catholics to keep the house, the traitor 
being one of them. The good lady was pleased at this, 
for she hoped that he would be the means of freeing me, 
and rescuing me from death : for she knew that I had 
made up my mind to suffer and die of starvation between 
two walls, rather than come forth and save my own life at 
the expense of others. In fact during those four days 
that I lay hid, I had nothing to eat but a biscuit or two 
and a little quince jelly, which my hostess had at hand 
and gave me as I was going in. She did not look for any- 
more, as she supposed that the search would not last 
beyond a day. But now that two days were gone, and 
she was to be carried off on the third with all her trusty 
servants, she began to be afraid of my dj'ing of sheer 
hunger. She bethought herself then of the traitor, who 
she heard was to be left behind. He had made a great 
fuss and show of eagerness in withstanding the searchers, 
when they first forced their way in. For all that, she 
would not have let him know of the hiding-places, had 
she not been in such straits. Thinking it better however 
to rescue me from certain death, even at some risk to 
herself, she charged him, when she was taken away, and 
every one had gone, to go into a certain room, call me by 
my wonted name, and tell me that the others had been 
taken to prison, but that he was left to deliver me. I 

Hosted by 


1 66 Life of Father John Gerard. 

would then ans^ver, she said, from behind the lath and 
plaster where I lay concealed. 

" The traitor promised to obey faithfully, but he was 
faithful only to the faithless,' for he unfolded the whole 
matter to the ruffians who had remained behind. No 
sooner had they heard it, than they called back the magis- 
trates who had departed. These returned early in the 
morning, and renewed the search. They measured and 
sounded eveiywhere, much more carefully than before, 
especially in the chamber above mentioned, in order to 
find out some hollow place. But finding nothing whatever 
during the whole of the third day, they purposed on 
the morrow to strip off all the wainscot of that room. 
Meanwhile they set guards in all the rooms about, to watch 
all night lest I should escape. I heard from my hiding- 
place the pass-word which the captain of the band gave to 
his soldiers, and I might have got off by using it, were it 
not that they would have seen me issuing from my retreat : 
for there were two on guard in the chapel where I got 
into my hiding-place, and several also in the large wains- 
cotted room which had been pointed out to them. 

"But mark the wonderful providence of God. Here 
was I in my hiding-place. The way I got into it was by 
taking up the floor, made of wood and bricks, under the 
fire-place. The place was so constructed that a fire could 
not be lit in it without damaging the house ; though we 
made a point of keeping wood there, as if it were meant 
for a fire. Well, the men on the night-watch lit a fire in 
this yiGxy grate, and began chatting together close to it. 
Soon the bricks, which had not bricks but wood under- 
neath them, got loose and nearly fell out of their places, as 
the wood gave way. On noticing this and probing the 
place with a stick, they found that the bottom was made of 
wood ; whereupon they remarked that this was something 
curious. I thought that they were going there and then to 
' Fidelis tanlum erat infidelibus.— jl/:?. 

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Search at Braddocks. 167 

break open the place and enter, but they made up their 
minds at last to put off further examination til! next day. 
Meanwhile, though nothing was further from my thoughts 
than any chance of escaping, I besought the Lord 
earnestly, that if it were for the glory of His Name, I 
might not be taken in that house, and so endanger my 
entertainers ; nor in any other house, where others would 
share my disaster. My prayer was heard. I was pre- 
served in that house in a wonderful manner ; and when, 
a few days after, I was taken, it was without prejudice 
to any one, as shall be presently seen. 

" Next morning therefore they renewed the search mo3t 
carefully, everywhere except in the top chamber which 
served as a chapel, and in which the two watchmen had 
made a fire over my head and had noticed the strange 
make of the grate. God had blotted out of their memory 
all remembrance of the thing. Nay, none of the searchers 
entered the place the whole day, though it was the oae 
that was most open to suspicion, and if they had entered, 
they would have found me without any search ; rather, 
I should say, they would have seen me, for the fire had 
burnt a great hole in my hiding-place, and had I not got a 
little out of the waj', the hot embers would have fallen on 
me. The searchers, forgetting or not caring about this 
room, busied themselves in ransacking the rooms below, in 
one of which I was said to be. In fact they found the 
other hiding-place which I thought of going into, as I 
mentioned before. It was not far off, so I could hear their 
shouts of joy when they first found it. But after joy 
comes grief: and so it was with them. The only thuig 
that they found, was a goodly store of provision laid up. 
Hence they may have thought that this was the place 
that the mistress of the house meant ; in fact an answer 
might have been given from it to the call of a person in 
the room mentioned by her. 

" They stuck to their purpose however, of stripping off 

Hosted by 


1 68 Life cf Father John Gerard. 

all the wainscot of the other large room. So they set 
a man to work near the ceiling, close to the place where I 
wasr for the lower part of the walls was covered with 
tapestry, not with wainscot. So they stripped off the 
wainscot all round, till they camo again to the very place 
where I lay, and there they lost heart and gave up the 
search. My hiding-place was in a thick wall of the 
chimney, behind a finely Inlaid and carved mantelpiece. 
They could not well lake the carving down without risk of 
breaking it. Broken however it would have been, and 
that into a thousand pieces, had they any conception that 
I could be concealed behind it. But knowing that there 
were two Hues, they did not think that there could be 
room enough there for a man. Nay, before this, on the 
second day of the search they had gone into the room 
above, and tried the fireplace through which I had got 
into my hole. They then got into tho chimney by a 
ladder to sound with their hammers. One said to another 
in my hearing, • Might there not be a place here for a 
person to get down into the wall of the chimney below, by 
lifting up this hearth ? ' 'No,' answered one of the pursui- 
vants, whose voice I knew, 'you could not get down that 
way into the chimney underneath, but there might easily 
be an entrance at the back of this chimney' So saying, 
he gave the place a kick. I was afraid that he would hear 
the hollow sound of the hole where I was. But God, who 
set bounds to the sea, said also to their dogged obstinacy, 
'Thus far Shalt thou go and no further;' and He spared 
His sorely-stricken children, and gave them not up into 
their persecutors' hands, nor allowed utter ruin to light 
upon them for their great charity towards me. 

"Seeing that their toil availed them nought, they 
thought that I had escaped somehow, and so they went 
away at the end of four days, leaving the mistress and her 
servants free. The yet nnbetrayed traitor stayed after the 
searchers were gone. As soon as the doors of the house 

Hosted by 


Search at Braddocks. 169 

were made fast, the mistress came to call me, another 
four-days-buried Lazarus, from what would have been my 
tomb had the search continued a little longer. For I was 
ail wasted and weakened, as well with hunger as with want 
of sleep, and with having to sit so long in such a narrow 
space. The mistress of the house too had eaten nothing 
whatever during the whole time, not only to share my 
distress, and to try on herself how long I could live with- 
out food, but chiefly to draw down the mercy of God on 
me, herself, and her family, by this fasting and prayer. 
Indeed her face was so changed when I came out, that she 
seemed quite another woman, and I should not have 
known her but for her voice and her dress. After coming 
out I was seen by the traitor, whose treachery was still 
unknown to us. He did nothing then, not even send 
after the searchers, as he knew that I meant to be off, 
before they could be recalled. 

^ Hosted by 




"As soon as I had taken a Httle refreshment and rest, 
I set out and went to a friend's house, where I kept still 
for a fortnight. Then, knowing that I had left my friends 
in great distress, I proceeded to London to aid and com- 
fort them. I got a safe lodging with a person of rank." 
This was the unfortunate Anne Countess of Arundel, 
whose husband Philip Howard, Ear! of Arundel, was at 
this time in the tenth year of his imprisonment in the 
Tower. He died the following year in the same prison, 
the noblest victim to the jealous and suspicious tyranny 
of Elizabeth, noii sine veneni sxispicione, as his cofi^n-plate 
still testifies. From the Life' of the Countess, edited by 
the !ate Duke of Norfolk, we learn that during the Earl's 
imprisonment " she hired a little house at Acton, Middle- 
sex, six miles distant from London." 

If the following mention of John Gerard in a spy's 
information^ be intended for our John Gerard, it is mis- 
dated in the Calendar 1601. "That Church told me that 
John Garrat lay most commonly at the Countess of 
Arundel's house, and that Dr. Bagshawe would write to 
them. That Garrard lieth most commonly at Mrs. Soutler's 
house in the County of Suffolk, with whom John Bennet 
is greatly acquainted {in marg. and at Mr. Lounde in 
Clerkenwell]." He adds what is certainly inapplicable to 
our Father John Gerard, but which may be intended for 
either Miles Gerard the martyr or Alexander his brother, 
■ P. 308. ' P.K.O., Domsslk, EUzabah, Addenda, vol, xxxiv. n. 38. 

Hosted by 


Capture. 171 

"that John Garrat the Jesuit is a very little man." Father 
Gerard seems to have lived but a very short time in the 
Countess of Arundel's house. 

"A year ago," he says, "it had been Father South- 
well's abode, before his seizure and imprisonment in the 
Tower of London, where he now was.' I wanted, how- 
ever, to hire a house where I might be safe and unknown, 
and be free to treat with my friends ; for I could not 
manage my in a house that was not my own, 
especially in such a one as I then dwelt in. I had recourse 
to a servant of Father Garnet named Little John,^ an 
excellent man and one well able to help me. He it was 
that used to make our hiding-places ; in fact, he had made 
the one to which I owed my safety. Thanks to his 
endeavours, I found a house well suited for my purpose. 
The next thing was to agree with the landlord about the 
rent, a matter which was soon settled. Till the house was 
furnished, I hired a room in my landlord's own house.^ 
There I resolved to pass two or three nights in arranging 
my affairs, getting letters from my friends in distress, and 
writing back letters of comfort in return. Thus it was 
that the traitor got sent to the place, which was only 
known to a small circle of friends. It was God's will 
that my hour should then come. 

" One night, when Little John and I had to sleep in 
that room, the traitor had to bring a letter that needed 
an answer, and left with the answer about ten o'clock. 
I had only come in about nine, sorely against the will 
of the lady, my entertainer, who was uncommonly earnest 
that I should not leave her house that night. Away went 
the traitor then, and gave information to the priest-hunters 

■ Father Southwell was martyred .; -■ " ' 159^' 

' This holy martyr's true name was Nicholas Owen. Father Gerard 
speaks at some length about him further on, and more fully still in his 
NarraHve oftkt Powder Plot, p. 182. 

3 We learn from Frank that it was called Middleton's. 

Hosted by 


172 Life of Father John Gerard. 

both when and where he had left me. They got together 
a band, and came at midnight to the house, just as I had 
gone to sleep. Little John and I were both awaltened by 
the noise outside I guessed what it was, and told John 
to hide the letter received that night in the ashes where 
the fire had been. No sooner had he done so and got 
into bed again, than the noise which we had heard before 
seemed to travel up to our room. Then some men began 
knockmg at the chamberJoor, ready to break it in if it 
was not opened at once. There was no exit except by 
the door where our foes were ; so I bade John get up and 
open the door. The room was at once filled with men 
armed with swords and staves, and many more stood 
outside, who were not able to enter. Among the rest 
stood two pursuivants, one of whom knew me well, so 
there was no chance of my pas.sing unknown. 

" I got up and dressed, as I was bid. All my effects 
were searched, but without a single thing being found 
that could do harm to any man. My companion and I 
were then taken off to prison. By God's grace we did 
not feel distressed, nor did we show any token of fear 
What I was most afraid of, was that they had seen mc 
come out of that lady's house, and had tracked me to the 
room that I had hired ; and so that the noble family that 
had harboured me would suffer on my account But this 
fear was unfounded; for I learnt afterwards that the 
traitor had simply told them where he had left me, and 
there it was that they found me" 

or Father Gerard's arrest. Father Garnet said, « Soon 
afier [his escape at Golding-lane] he was apprehended 
being betrayed we know not how." Father Garnet wrote 
this in September, about four months after Father Gerard's 
apprehension and very soon after his removal from the 
Counter, where "he hath been very close." It may be 
that Father Gerard had not yet learned the part that John 
Frank the servant had had in betraying him, or perhaps 

Hosted by 


Capture. i-i-i 

Father Garnet had reason to suspect that some other 
treacherous agency had been at work, and thus came to 
say that " we know not how " he was betrayed. 

It is quite possible that there was another traitor at 
work in this matter of whose communications with the 
Lord Keeper of the Great Seal neither Father Garnet nor 
Father Gerard knew anything-. His machinations wc 
know better than they. Owing to the extreme caution 
of the man we cannot be quite certain who it was that 
he was striving to betray, but it seems probable that Father 
Gerard was his intended victim. From the Fleet prison 
Benjamin Beard alias Tichborne wrote thus to Lord Keeper 
Puckering on the 28th of February 159$ to open com- 
munications.' "Albeit I was unwilling during my im- 
prisonment to undertake any matter concerning these 
causes, lest missing (as being in prison haply I might) 
the performance thereof, your lordship might any way 
conceive hardly of me, having some inkling of two Jesuits 
lately arrived, and when and where they did frequent, 
and of their exercise, where if I had been at liberty as 
I then expected I myself should have been present, the 
parties being apparelled in silks, wearing shirts of hair 
underneath, by which only mark I judge them to be 
Jesuits. Wherefore I am to inform your lordship that if 
your lordship will stand my honoured friend for my liberty 
(the hindrance whereof this bearer shall impart unto your 
lordship). I do here under my hand undertake to perform 
such service unto her Majesty in the causes aforesaid as 
any heretofore hath not done better. And my hberty 
obtained, if I do not before the beginning of the next 
term deliver some of those persons unto your lordship, 
I will be content that your Honour shall commit me to 
perpetual imprisonment without any favour. Craving this 
further, that in executing hereof such course and plot as 
I shall set down unto your lordship, that I may not be 
■ P.R.O., Demeslic, Elizabeth, vol, ccxlvli. n. 104. 

Hosted by 


174 Life of Father John Gerard. 

discovered or suspected of them herein, and none to have 
knowledge thereof but your lordship and the bearer 
hereof ; for otherwise it would be a great disgrace to me, 
for that ray mother and all my own kindred are papists 
and recusants." 

This man in another letter speaks of his grandmother 
Mrs. Tichborne, and elsewhere of his uncle Benjamin Tich- 
borne and his cousin Mrs. Shelley. He was prisoner for 
debt in the Fleet, and in the hope of obtaining his release 
by showing the Lord Keeper that he would be a useful 
spy, he wrote him many letters of information against 
Catholics, of which no less than fourteen belonging to the 
year 1 594 are preserved amongst the State Papers. One 
or two of them we proceed to give as apparently they refer 
to Father Gerard, and besides they are of interest as 
introducing the name of Tregian, the worthy confessor 
of the Faith, at a later date than the Narrative' of his 
imprisonment, the latest date mentioned in which was 
July 20, 1593. 

The following letter^ is addressed to the man who 
was his go-between with Sir John Puckering, but the letter 
is endorsed with the names of the persons mentioned in 
it in Sir John's handwriting, according to his usual fashion. 
" Mr. Jones,^This day about five of the clock towards 
night there came hither one Mrs. Stafford. She was 
Abington's wife, that was executed. In her company 
came one, without question of exceeding great weight, a 
Jesuit as by all circumstance I gathered. With him was 
one Mr. Leonard Farley of Filey bordering on the seaside 
in Yorkshire. They all being above at Mr. Tregian's, 
myself then also present, Mr. Wade and Justice Young 
came into the Fleet even at supper time, to examine the 
knight Sir Thomas Tresham.^ Whereupon Mr. Tregian, 

■ Troubles, First Series, p. 61. 

' P.R.O., Domaiic, Elisabeth, vol. ccKlviii. n. 43. 

3 The intetiogalories and answers are nn. 44, 45 of this vol. ccxlviii. 

Hosted by 


Capture. 175 

having understanding thereof, and for that he thought 
they came about Mrs. Shelley, being much amazed all 
of them willed me to go down, lest upon some occasion 
I should be called for, because the Warden did malice 
me much about Mrs. Shelley, and had threatened to have 
me examined about some matter touching her. After 
which I went presently to my chamber and made a little 
note, thinking to send for you to dog them to their 
lodging, but could not by any means get any one to carry 
it. Neither durst I make the Warden or any acquainted 
with it, for that at Michaelmas when Mrs. Shelley was 
first discharged of her close imprisonment, to draw her 
to live as his ward, ' he persuaded her by all means 
possible that I was made an instrument to bring her 
further in question both of her life and living, and that 
her liberty was for no other purpose granted her. [He 
has] bidden Mrs. Tregian and other of the papists beware 
of me, for that they had letters of my own hand which 
I should write to Mr. Young while I was in the Counter, 
to prove that I was such a person. By reason whereof 
they were jealous of me till they found that the Warden's 
malice was only for the gain of Mrs. Shelley. And so by 
good discretion I gained my credit again among them, 
albeit by that abuse of the Warden many services of 
greatest moment were hindered, &c. It is not very uneasy 
[difficult] to learn out where Mrs. Stafford lieth, being a 
known papist about the town. Upon my life, where her 
lodging is, there you shall find the party. He was here 
apparelled in a coat of wrought velvet, and wrought velvet 
hose^ and silk grogram cloth, physician wise, and of age 

' Endorsed " Mr. Beard about Mrs. Shelley, and the Warden's seekbg to 
make gain of her." 

' In his eiamination John Frank saith that the salin doublet and velvet 
hose which were found in Middleton's house at the apprehension of Mr. Gerard, 
were Mr. Wiseman's, and the ruffs were Mrs. Wiseman's ; and if Ihey had not 
been taken, the apparel should have been carried by this e; 
day to Mr, Wiseman in the Counter. 

Hosted by 


176 Life of Father John Gerard. 

about thirty-six, of brown hair and somewhat well set and 
of reasonable stature. To-morrow morning I shall hear 
further of him. Tregian's two men went out with them 
about seven of the clock this night. Because of my 
coming away upon Justice Young's coming into the house 
I know not whether they had mass or not, as likely being 
scared so they had not. [They came at five in the evening 
and went away at seven.] But [to] confession I am sure 
most of them went. Thus late at night I cease, praying 
you to come to me to-morrow and you shall hear more. 
Fleet, this 2Sth of March 1594 [the first day of the year, 
old style]. 

" Your poor friend, Benjamin Beard." 

" To his assured friend Mr. Morgan Jones at Gray's 
Inn give these." 

Three days later Beard writes' to Sir John Puckering 
" It behoveth me to carry myself even among them lest 
I mar my harvest before my corn be ripe. This Easter 
I am most assured, if the house in Chancery-lane called 
Doctor Good's house, and Payne's house in Fetter-lane 
be well seen unto, that divers of the seditious parties will 
be there found, and [I] would (if I had liberty) lose my 
own life if I roused not two or three of them ; for in both 
those places on Easter day I am assured they will be, or 
the parties there remaining will repair very early in the 
morning to such other place as the rest remain in. . . . 
This day (if a man had but any notes [descriptions] of 
them) a hundred to one some of the parties might be had 
at the tavern called ' the Bell ' in New Fish-street, for 
there were they wont to meet and make their Maundy." 

By the 29th of April the person Beard had written 

about was taken, as we learn from his letter of that day. 

This was about the time of Father Gerard's arrest, the 

exact date of which we do not know. It may therefore 

' P.R.O,, Domtsli:, Eliaabeth, vol. ccxiviii. n. 47. 

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Capture. \ 77 

very possibly have been he who visited the Fleet prison 
on the 2Sth of IVIarch, which day that year was Monday 
in Holy Week. We know that he was at Blackfriars in 
Lent on a visit to Lady IVIary Percy and Lady Jane 
Seymour "a httle before Easter," and he would have had 
full time to go to Braddocks for the three last days of 
Holy Week. If the "green man" mentioned in the two 
following letters' as taken is "the fellow that followed 
him as his man," it will have been Nicholas Owen or 
Little John, who wore a green cloak. Frank in his exami- 
nation "saith that Nicholas Owen, who was taken in bed 
with IVIr. Gerard the Jesuit, was at Mr. Wiseman's house 
at Christmas was twelvemonths, and called by the name 
of Little John and Little Michael, and the cloak that 
he wore was Mr. Wiseman's cloak a year past, and was 
of sad green cloth with sleeves, caped with tawny velvet 
and little gold strips turning on the cape." 

" Mr. Jones, — I am still of the opinion that the party 
you know of is one of them we look for, and as at 
his first coming hither I judged him so by the reverence 
done unto him by those here, so am I still by all Hkeli- 
hood and circumstances more and more therein confirmed ■ 
for were he not for certain a man of weight there would 
be good laughing among them at the manner of his taking, 
as at one whom they affirmed to be taken lately about 
Westminster for a Seminary, and of another lately com- 
mitted to the Clink for hearing of a mass at Dieppe. If 
he be wisely handled, he may without great difficulty be 
quickly discovered [that is, torture will soon extort from 
him an avowal of who he is]. But howsoever, in any case 
handle the matter so as it come not to his own knowledge 
that other than Justice Young's commendam is upon him, 
nor any notice to Justice Young that either by my means 
or yours the party is taken, nor any question moved to 
him of his being at the Fleet : for though there may 
' P.R.O., Domtiiii, Elizabdk, vol. ccxlviii. nn. 83, 99. 

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'78 Life of Father John Gerard. 

happen to be some notable villainy among them, yet may 
not these here be suddenly baulked ; though if any matter 
of importance come to light thereby, they may with good 
discretion be called to account well enough, saving any 
their suspicion, whereof we may advise when we see 
certainly what the party is. 

"I did yesternight sup at Trcgian's, where in the 
midst of our supper Phillips, Tregian's man, came in 
sweating; whom suddenly Tregian asked 'What news'' 
who answered 'Very bad'; whereat Tregian looked won- 
derful pale and went from the table, and called Phillips 
with him into his study. It was sure[ly] about the party 
for the fellow that followed him as his man was here and 
went out not two hours before with the same Phillips. If 
that party were one day wisely dogged, the true harbour 
of the other might be found out. though in this space 
they have shifted all matter of moment from thence. 

" Having also some speech of the dangerousness of 
the time, and how narrowly Catholics were sifted, 'Yet 
for all that,' saith Tregian's wife and Mrs. Warnford who 
supped there also, ■ that infinites run daily into the Church 
and were reconciled to the Catholic faith.' As also how 
those good men, making no account of losing their lives, 
did hazard themselves to .save men's souls, affirming that 
they thought in their conscience that (as dangerous as 
the time was) yet within the Court there was now daily 
as many masses said as commonly in any country abroad, 
and many lately called to forsake the world that have 
heretofore seemed to be wonderful stiff on the contrary 
part. ' 

•• And asking how it were possible they could be long 
secure about the Court, it was answered that if I were 
at liberty and did follow some nobleman, it were an easy 
matter for me to shroud a priest a long time before he 
should be taken ; and for example [they] named young 
Roper who serveth Sir Thomas Heneage ; with which 

Hosted by 


Capture, 1 79 

Roper I saw the party that was here with Mrs. Stafford 
on Our Lady day in Lent, go through the Palace at West- 
minster, when I was at the Hall about my own business. 

" But among all these speech was now and many more 
before to the like effect, not any one word passed of the 
green man, which is the greater presumption that he is 
the same man we look for, and that for that he was taken 
after his being here, they are afeard to speak of him or 
his taking. Therefore be sure that he be well looked into. 
Justice Young, no doubt, hath skill enough to find him 
what he Is : albeit if Justice Young know that he is taken 
by my means; he doth malice me so much about my 
cousin Shelley, he will not stick under his hand [in an 
underhand way] to tell the papists of it" 

This news, which in another letter^ assumes the more 
precise shape " that there are three Seminaries that daily 
frequent the Court where they use their ungodly exercise, 
maintained and harboured there of gentlemen that are 
retainers to some noblemen," was duly reported by Jones 
to the Lord Keeper, who endorsed his letter in the follow- 
ing legal polyglot, Jones circa prestes pres le court. The 
consequence was that Beard was called upon to repeat 
his story of the supper and the conversation with Mrs. 
Tregian over and over again. One more of these letters 
we venture to insert, though it involves some little repeti- 
tion and adds nothing to our knowledge of Father Gerard, 
for the sake of the vivid picture it gives of life in prison 
and of priests riding about in a nobleman's "livery and 
cognizance, with chains of gold about their necks," 

" Right honourable, my most humble duty remembered. 
I have received this morning early a letter from Mr. Jones 
whereby I am advertised that your lordship requireth a 
recital from me of sundry matters as well by me formerly 
written to your lordship as else by word of mouth spoken 
to Mr. Jones First therefore touching the words spoken 
' F.R.O., DmiKslk, Elimbetk, vol. ccxlviil n. 94. 

Hosted by 


I So 

Life of Father John Gerard. 

by Tregian's wife and others touching matters about tlie 
Court, &c. The manner of these speeches were as follow- 
eth. About the second night after the green man was 
talten, bending my wits all 1 could to have notice of that 
party, I sent for Rhenish wine into the town in a choice 
bottle, feigning it to be sent me for excellent good from 
a special friend, and bestowed it on her, who desired me 
to stay supper ; where was one Mrs. Warnford and her 
daughter, here prisoners also at that instant. Even as 
supper was almost ended, Phillips, Tregian's man, came in 
hastily and sweating ; whereupon Tregian and Roscarrock 
rose and went with Phillips into the study, his wife, myself 
and the rest sitting still. After this divers speeches passed, 
as how there was one Marcomba (as I remember they 
called him so) imprisoned in the Clink for hearing of a 
mass at Dieppe ; whereunto another of them replied that 
that was somewhat like the taking of a gentleman a little 
before Easter for a Seminary at Westminster. 

"Upon these speeches saith Tregian's wife that not- 
withstanding the great searches, and hold and keep for 
good men, and the rigour used to Catholics, yet did the 
number of the Church rather increase than decrease by 
it. To which I said that, by her leave, many of late since 
the Statute [27' Eliz. ,584] did go to Church and were 
fallen. Whereunto she answered that where one was 
fallen from the Church, there was ten reconciled unto 
it ; as likewise how dangerously, without all care of their 
lives, good men did venture to save souls. And that 
she thought in her conscience that there was more masses 
said about the Court than was about London. 

"And asking how that can be, 'Think you,' saith she 
to me, ' that if I myself did belong to any nobleman 
about the Court, that it were not an easy matter for me 
to conceal a priest a long time >. ' saying that there were 
many noblemen about the Court that full little knew 
how many such persons were about them. But in par- 

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Capture. i § i 

ticular of any that did harbour these persons there was 
not anything precisely uttered, though Roper and Ingle- 
field being here the afternoon before, for that Roper was 
in his chain, I asked whom he served ; who said ' Sir 
Thomas Heneage, — a man,' saith she, 'that is as earnest 
against Catholics as any other : yet,' saith she, ' he hath 
some good men about him, as well as others.' Infinite 
other speeches to this effect which were too long to write. 
"Touching Mr. Cornwallis, at his house at Fisher's 
Foliy on Easter Monday there met Knight of Chancery- 
lane and his wife, and cousin Yates' wife, Tregian's wife 
and her two elder daughters here and divers at Clerken- 
well, as I did formerly advertise your lordship, where one 
Jones alias Norton, and one Butler, priests, said mass. 
But [I] cannot tell whether Mr. Cornwallis were privy to 
it or not. Their business done, Tregian's wife came home 
hither to dinner, and bring [brought] a casing bottle of 
holy water with her. Her daughter Yates dined at 
Clerkenwell and came hither after dinner, of whom I 
understood the whole. 

"This Butler was sometime chamberfellow with one 
Harrington^ that serveth the Lady Southampton, which 
maketh me guess that, since I [am] here and he is come 
over, that he is also still harboured by him. They lay 
there about eight years since in Southampton House, 
next chamber to Robert Gage that was executed ; and 
then [he] fled, being nominated to be of Babington's 

"I know also one Selby, a northern man, towards [in 
the service of] my Lord Chamberlain, and little John 
Shelley that did serve the Lord Montague, who, if they 
attend on them now, as if they be in town I am sure 
they do, are likest men to be harbourers of such persons. 
In the life of my old Lord Montague, that Shelley did 

' This is nol William Harrington the piiesl and martyr, for he was 
executed on Ihe i8lh of February in this year. TroaMis, 2nd series, p. 105. 

Hosted by 


l83 Life of Father John Gerard. 

carry Fennell and Richards, both priests, up and down 
with him in my Lord his livery and cognizance, with 
chains of gold about their necks. This will I justify 
with my blood, though I would endure any misery rather 
than to scandalize myself wilfully in any occasion, unless 
some great profit might redound thereby to the State. 
Neither doubt I but, if your lordship please to make trial 
of me, but in short space to effect those services as shall 
be to the State great benefit, and to your lordship so 
acceptable as your lordship shall have no cause to repent 
the honour and charitable favour you have done me. 
And thus in all humility I cease, praying God evermore 
to preserve and bless your lordship. From the Fleet, 
this eighth day of May, 1594. 

" Your lordship's everlastingly bounden, 

"Benjamin Beard." 
To this story and to his offer to betray some of the 
priests whom he had led Sir John Puckering to believe 
were concealed about the Court, Beard owed his liberty, 
and on the 28th of May he dated his letter! from Green- 
wich, where he must have felt that he had no easy task 
before him. "As for Roper I could not see of him all 
day, though I walked the park and town, and will do 
again this day, which I am enforced to slay here by 
reason that, meeting with one Eyrd, brother to Byrd of 
the Chape!,^ I understand that Mrs. Tregian, Mrs. Char- 
nock and Mrs. Sybil Tregian will be here at the Court 
at this day, by whose coming peradventure some good 
may be done" Evidently Mrs. Tregian, who was Lord 
Stourton's sister, and her daughters were about to appeal 
to Elizabeth's mercy in behalf of that faithful confessor 
Francis Tregian,' who had now been a prisoner seventeen 
years. It is needless to say that their appeal was made 

' P.R.O., Dsineitu, EliaihlH, vol. ccxlviii. n. iiS 
* Trmblei, and series, p. 143. » Tnuila, ist series, p. 13S. 

Hosted by 


Capture. 183 

in vain. When Tregiaii was banished after eleven other 
years of imprisonment, Elizabeth was dead. Wc here 
leave Benjamin Beard, waiting for the poor ladies who 
were coming on their hopeless errand, and we pity them 
all the more for the treachery that lent its aid to the 
cruelty with which they were persecuted for their faith. 

Hosted by 




After this long break we must allow Father Gerard to 
resume his narrative, and we will leave him to tell the 
stoiy of his life in prison with as little interruption as 

"The pursuivant who knew me, kept me in his house 
two nights ; either because those who were to examine 
me were hindered from doing so on the first day, or (as 
It struck me afterwards) because they wished first to 
examine my companion, Little John. I noticed the first 
night, that the room where I was locked up was not far 
from the ground ; and that it would be easy to let myself 
down from the window, by tearing up the bed-clothes 
and makmg a rope of them. I should have done so that 
very night, had I not heard some one stirring in the next 
room. I thought that he was put there to watch me, and 
so It turned out. However. I meant to carry my plan out 
the night after, if the watchman went away ■ but my 
keeper forestalled me ; for to save the expense of a guard, 
he put irons on my arms, which hindered me both from 
bringing my hands together and from separating them 
Then m truth I was more at ease in mind, though less 
m body ; for the thought of escape vanished, and there 
came in its place a feeling of joy that I had been vouch- 
safed this suffering for the sake of Christ, and I thanked 
the Lord for it as Weil as I could. 

Hosted by 


The Counter. 185 

" Next day I was brought before the Commissioners,' 
at the head of whom was one who is now Lord Chancellor 
of the reahn. He had been a Catholic, but went over to 
the other side, for he loved the things of this world, 

" They first asked me my name and calling. I gave 
them the name I passed by ; whereupon one called me 
by my true name, and said that I was a Jesuit As I was 
aware that the pursuivant knew me, I answered that I 
would be frank and open in everything that belonged to 
myself, but would say nothing that could affect others. 
So I told them my name and calling, to wit that, though 
most unworthy, I was a priest of the Society of Jesus. 

" ' Who sent you into England .' ' they asked. 

'"The Superiors of the Society.' 

" ' To what end \ ' 

"'To bring back stray souls to their Creator.' 

" ' No, no,' said they, ' you were sent for matters of 
State, and to lure people from the obedience of the Queen 
to the obedience of the Pope.' 

" ' As for matters of State,' I replied, ' we are forbidden 
to have anything to say to them, as they do not belong 
to our Institute. This prohibition, indeed, extends to all 
the members of the Society ; but on us missioners it is 
particularly enjoined in a special instruction. As for the 
obedience due to the Queen and the Pope, each is to be 
obeyed in that wherein they have jurisdiction ; and one 
obedience does not clash with the other, as England and 
all Christian realms have hitherto experienced.' 

"'How long have you been doing duty as a priest 
in this country ? ' 

" ' About six years.' 

' Honorarios arbilros seu examinatores.— -1/i'. Sir Thomas Egerton, 
afterwards J-ord Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley, was Attorney General at 
this date, 1594, and Lord Chancellor in 1609, when this was written. That 
this persecutor had been a Catholic is an interesting fact which his bic^raphers 
have passed over in silence. 

Hosted by 


l86 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

How and where did you land, and where have you 
hved since your landing ? ' 

" ' I cannot in conscience answer any of these ques- 
tions/ I replied. ■ especially the last, as it would bring 
m,sch,ef on others ; so I crave pardon for not satisfyinB 
your wishes.' 

"'Nay,' said they, 'it is just on these heads that we 
chiefly desire you to satisfy us, and we bid you in the 
Queen's name to do so.' 

" • I honour the Queen,' said I, ■ and will obey her and 
you in all that is lawful, but here you must hold me 
excused ; for were I to mention any person or place where 
I have been lodged, the innocent would have to sulTer 
according to your laws, for the kind service they have 
done me. Such behaviour on my part would be against 
all justice and charity, and therefore I never will be guilty 
of it' ' 

You shall do so by force, if not by good will.' 
"■ I hope,' I said, • by the grace of God, it shall not 
be as you say I beg you, therefore, to take this my 
answer, that neither now nor at any other time will I 
disclose what you demand of me.' 

"Thereupon they wrote a warrant for my imprison- 
ment, and gave it to the pursuivants, bidding them take 
me to prison. As wc were leaving, he who is now Chan- 
cellor said that I must be kept in close confinement as in 
cases of high treason 'But tell the gaolers,' he added 
'to treat him well on accoum of his birth.' It seems' 
however, that the head gaoler gave orders at variance with 
this humane recommendation, for I was lodged in a garref 

: •■",'■" 0™"l " «"! ™limd In thi Cornier, „ h. lells a, |,i„ 
pnmn .nd „ll,„.| .omforl." It,,. ,„ |„ i^,j„„ ^ ''J •" 

the Coiinler in the Poullij. "some four houses west from thp ™,l«s,.|. i. r 
SI. Mildred ", and the New Counle, In Wood sIm ^ Si , 
sl,=..l.,555. Slo.'si^./Z^Z.^rSS'i™?,,!'"" ■"""-■ 

Hosted by 


The Counter. 187 

where there was nothing but a bed, and no room to stand 
up straight, except just where the bed was. There was 
one window always open, through which foul air entered 
and rain fell on to my bed. The room door was so low, 
that I had to enter not on my feet, but on my knees, and 
even then I was forced to stoop. However, I reckoned 
this rather an advantage, inasmuch as it helped to keep 
out the stench (certainly no small one) that came from the 
privy close to my door, which was used by all the prisoners 
in that part of the house. I was often kept awake, or 
waked up, by the bad smell. 

" In this place I passed two or three days of true 
repose. I felt no pain or anxiety of mind, and enjoyed, 
by the blessing of God, that peace which the world does 
not and cannot give. On the third or fourth day, I was 
taken for a second examination to the house of a magis- 
trate called Young. He it was who had the management 
of all the searches and persecutions that the Catholics in 
the neighbourhood of London had to endure ; and it was 
to him that the traitor had given his information. Along 
with him was another, who had for many years conducted 
the examinations by torture, Topcliffe by name. He was 
a man of cruelty, athirst for the blood of the Catholics, 
and so crafty and cunning, that all the wily wit of his 
companion seemed abashed into silence by his presence; 
in fact, the justice spoke very little during the whole 
examination. I found the two of them alone. Young in 
a civilian's dress, Topcliffe with a sword by his side and 
in a Court dress. He was an old man, grown grey in 
wickedness. Young began questioning me as to my place 
of abode, and the Catholics that I knew. I answered that 
I neither could nor would make disclosures that would 
get any one into trouble, for reasons already stated. He 
turned then to Topcliffe and said : ' I told you how you 
would find him.' 

" Topcliffe looked frowningly at me and said : ' Do 

Hosted by 


l88 Life of Father Jolin Gerard. 

you know mc ? I am Topclifle, of whom I doubt not you 
have often heard.' 

"He meant this to frighten me. To heighten the 
effect, he had laid his sword on the table near his hand, 
as though he were ready to use it on occasion. But he 
failed certainly, and caused me not the least alarm ; and 
whereas I was wont to answer with deference on other 
occasions, this time I did quite the contrary, because I 
saw him making a show to scare me. Finding that he 
could get no other manner of reply from me than what 
I had given, he took a pen and wrote an artful and 
malicious form of examination. 

" Here,' says he, ' read this paper ; I shall show it to 
the Privy Council, that they may see what a traitor you 
are to the realm, and how manifestly guilty.' 

"The contents of the paper were as follows: 'The 
enaminate was sent by the Pope and the Jesuit Persons, 
and coming through Belgium there had interviews with 
the Jesuit Holt and Sir William Stanley : thence he came 
mto England, on a political errand, to beguile the Queen's 
subjects, and lure them from their obedience to their 
Sovereign. If, therefore, he will not disclose the places 
and persons with whom he has lived, it is presumed that 
he has done much mischief to the State, &c.' 

" On reading this, I saw that I coold not meet so many 
falsehoods with one single denial ; and as I was desirous 
that he should show my way of answering to the Council, 
I said that I also wished to answer in writing. Hereat 
Topcliffe was overjoyed, and cried out, ' Oh ! now you are 
a reasonable man': but he was disappointed. He had 
hoped to catch me in my words, or at least to find out 
my handwriting, so that some of the papers found in the 
houses of the Catholics might be proved to be mine. I 
foresaw this, and therefore wrote in a feigned hand as 
follows : ' I was sent by my Superiors. I never was in 
Belgium : I have not seen Father Holt since the time that 

Hosted by 


The Counter. 189 

I left Rome. I have not seen Sir William Stanley since 
he left England with the Earl of Leicester. I am for- 
bidden to meddle with matters of State ; I never have 
done, and never will do so. I have tried to bring back 
souls to the knowledge and love of their Creator, and to 
make them show obedience to the laws of God and man ; 
and I hold this last point to be a matter of conscience. 
I humbly crave that my refusal to answer anything con- 
cerning the persons that I know, may not be set down to 
contempt of authority ; seeing that God's commandment 
forces me to follow this course, and to act otherwise would 
be against charity and justice.' 

" While I was writing this, the old man waxed wroth. 
He shook with passion, and would fain have snatched the 
paper from me. 

" ' If you don't want me to write the truth,' said I, ' I'll 
not write at all.' 

"'Nay,' quoth he, 'write so and so, and I'll copy out 
what you have written.' 

" ' I shall write what / please," I answered, ' and not 
what _?-(!« please. Show what I have written to the Council, 
for I shall add nothing but my name.' 

" This I signed so near the writing, that nothing 
could be put in between. The hot-tempered man, 
seeing himself disappointed, broke out into threats and 

" ' I'll get you put into my power, and hang you in the 
air, and show you no mercy; and then I shall see what 
God will rescue you out of my hands.' 

" From the abundance of his heart he poured forth 
these evil words ; but by this he raised my hopes, just 
the opposite effect to what he wanted.' Neither then nor 

' Even llie gentle Father Southwell could not but show hLs estimate of 
this reprobate man. We translate the following from Father More's Hsstaty 
ef Iht EHgluh Provinci, lib. v. n. 15.— "Though he readily answered the 
questions of others, yet if Topcliffe interposed he never deigned him a reply ; 
and when asked the cause of this, he answered : ' Because I have found by 
experience that the man is not open to reason.' " 

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igo Life of Father John Gerard. 

since have I ever reckoned aught of a blasphemer ; and 
in sooth I have found by experience, that God increases 
the confidence of His servants, when He allows strife to 
rise up against them. I gave, therefore, this short answer : 
' You will be able to do nothing without the leave of God, 
Who never abandons those that hope in Him. The will 
of God be done." 

" Thereupon Young called the gaoler who had brought 
me, to take me back to prison. As he was leading me 
off, Topcliffe addressed him and bade him put irons on 
my legs. Both then fell a-chiding him for having brought 
me by himself, fearing perchance lest I should escape from 
his hands. 

" When I had crept back to my little closet, my legs 
were garnished according to order. The man seemed 
grieved that put the fetters on. For my part, instead 
of grief, I felt very much joy, such is God's goodness to 
the most unworthy of His creatures. To pay the man 
for the kind turn that he had done me, I gave him some 
money for his job; and to!d him it was no punishment 
to suffer in so good a cause." 

Father Garnet described this act of faith and courage 
in the following terms in a letter^ to the General of the 
Society, which we translate from the Italian. " This 
father has always been very courageous, and when he 
was first taken, and the gaoler put very heavy irons on 
his legs, he gave him some money. The following day 
the gaoler, thinking that if he took off the irons doubtless 
he would give him more, took them off, but got nothing. 
After some days he came to put them on again, and 
received a reward, and then taking them off did not get 
a farthing. They went on playing thus with one another 
several times, but at last the gaoler, seeing that he did 
not give him anything for taking off his irons, left him 

■ Slonyhurst MSS., Angl. A. vol. iL p. 27 ; Father Grene's Colkdan. P. 
voL it. p. 604. 

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for a long time in confinement, so that the great toe of 
one foot was for almost two years in great danger of 
mortification. So your Reverence sees that in these times 
the courage of true Christian soldiers is not wanting. 
May our Lord give him perseverance, and to those who 
follow him the grace to imitate him." 

" Here I stayed," said Father Gerard, " upwards of three 
months. During the first month I made from memory, as 
well as I could, the Spiritual Exercises; giving four and 
sometimes five hours a day to meditation. God lavished 
His goodness on me throughout, and I had proof that He 
opens His bounteous hand to His servants most of all, when 
He has closed up the sources of earthly comfort to them. 

"While I was quietly lodged in prison, without being 
brought out or undergoing any further examination for 
many days, they examined and put to the torture Richard 
Fulwood, whom the traitor had pointed out as my servant, 
and Little John, who had been taken with me. Unable, 
either by coaxing or briberj-, to draw anything from them 
that would compromise others, they had recourse to threats 
and then to force : but the force of the Holy Ghost in 
them was too great to be overcome by men. They were 
both hung up for three hours together, having their arms 
fixed into iron rings, and their bodies hanging in the air; 
a torture which causes frightful pain and intolerable exten- 
sion of the sinews. It was all to no purpose; no dis- 
closure could be wrested from them that was hurtful to 
others ; no rewards could entice, no threats or punish- 
ments force them, to discover where I or any of ours 
had been harboured, or to name any of our acquaintance 
or abettors. 

" Here I ought not to pass over in silence God's great 
goodness and mercy to me, the most unworthy of all His 
servants. It was shown in this, that there was not a 
single traitor, either among those that were then seized 
in my house or in the house of the good gentleman, 

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192 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

my entertainer ; no, nor even among those that in the 
other persecutions, which by God's providence after- 
wards befell me, were imprisoned, tortured, and treated 
with the utmost cruelty. Not one of them, I say, ever 
yielded, but all by the grace of God held steadfast through 
everything. Those whom I used as companions, or the 
servants I entrusted with commissions to the gentlemen 
of my acquaintance, as they necessarily knew all my 
friends, would have been able to do very great mischief, 
and enrich themselves by ruining others : yet no one of 
them ever caused any harm either by word or deed, 
wittingly or unwittingly ; nor, as far as I remember, did 
they ever give any one matter of complaint. On many 
of them, God, in His goodness, poured the choicest gifts 
of His Holy Spirit. 

"John Lasnet,' the first that I had, died in Spain a 
lay-brother of the Society. The second that I had for 
some little while was Michael Walpole, who is now a 
priest of the Society and labouring in England. The 
third was [Ralph] Willis.^ He had a vocation, so I sent 
him to study in the Seminary at Rheims, where he went 
through his course of philosophy. His behaviour there 
was orderly, but afterwards at Rome he Joined a turbulent 
party, thus returning evil for good. He was the only 
one of my helpmates that walked at all awry. He was 
however, made priest, and sent into England. There he 
was seized, and condemned to death for the faith, and 
answered unflinchingly before the tribunal ; but instead 
of losing his life, he was kept some time in prison; 
whence he effected his escape, and is stilt labouring in 

" After him I had a godly man of the name of John 
Sutton, the brother of three priests, one of whom was a 

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martyr, and another died in the Society. Father Garnet 
kept him in his house for many years, up to the time of 
his own arrest. 

" The next that I had was Richard Fulwood, of whom 
I have spoken above. He managed to make his escape, 
and during my imprisonment was employed by Father 
Garnet until that Father's happy death. He managed 
nearly all his master's business with strangers, not without 
the knowledge of the persecutors, who offered a handsome 
sum for his capture, and were still more earnest about 
it after Father Garnet was taken. In fact they gave the 
poor man no peace until they drove him into banishment, 
where he yet remains, doing good service to our mission 
notw i th stand i n g. 

"After him I had John Lilly, a man well-known at 
Rome; he died lately in England, a lay-brother of the 
Society. Next came two other godly men, whom I did 
not take to keep, but merely as make-shifts, till I could 
get a man every way suited to my wants, and endowed 
with a religious spirit. I found one at length ; and when 
I quitted England, I took him with me, and left him at 
St. Omers. There he was well grounded in Greek and 
Latin, and became a great favourite with all the fathers, 
who sent him into Spain with the highest recommen- 
dations. He still remains there, growing always in virtue 
and learning. Not long ago I had a letter from the 
Father Prefect of Studies, in which he tells me that he 
is the best student in his course. 

" Such were the mercies of God vouchsafed to me His 
unworthy servant, in answer to my constant prayers. 
Many gentlemen entrust themselves and their interest 
to our servants' good faith no less than to ours ; so that 
there could be no greater let or hindrance to our good 
work, than any treachery on their part ; indeed the 
defection of such a one would be likely to cause the 
most frightful ruin among Catholics. For if one servant, 

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194 Life of Father John Gerard. 

and he neither a Catholic nor one of the household, like 
the traitor of whom I have spoken, made such havoc in 
his master's family, what mischief could a priest's servant 
do to the many persons of high rank, that had harboured 
him and his master! God has hitherto kept mc free 
from the like betrayal. 

"To return to my story. They could wrest nothing 
out of Little John and Fuhvood ; and none of my host's 
Catholic servants would make any avowal, or own that 
he knew me. Seeing that they could bring no witness 
against him, the heretics gradually lost the hope they had 
of seizing all his chattels and revenue. 

" Sometimes they would bring me up for examination, 
when they had anything new against me. Once they 
called me to try on a suit of clothes, which had been 
found in my host's house, and which the traitor said were 
mine. I put them on and they were just a fit, for the 
truth was that they had been made for me ; however I 
would not own them, nor admit them to be mine. Here- 
upon Young flew into a passion, calling me a headstrong 
and unreasonable man. He was so barefaced as to add: 
' How much more sensible is Southwell, who after long 
wilfulness is now ready to conform, and wishes to treat 
with some man of learning.' 

"'Nay,' I answered, 'I will never believe that Father 
Southwell wishes to treat with any one from any waver- 
ing in his faith, or to learn what to believe from 
a heretic ; but he might perchance challenge any heretic 
to dispute with him that dared, as Father Campion did, 
and as many others would do if you would let them, and 
appoint proper umpires.' 

"Then Young seizing hold of the book and ki.ssing 
it, cried : ' I swear upon this book that Southwell 
has oflfered to treat, with a view of embracing our 

"'I do not believe he ever did so,' said I. 

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"'What,' said an officer of the court, 'do you not 
believe his oath ? ' 

"'No,' was my reply, 'I neither can npr will believe 
him ; for I have a better opinion of Father Southwell's 
firmness than of his truthfulness; since perhaps he 
thinks that he is allowed to make this statement to 
beguile me.' 

" ' No such thing-,' said Young : ' but are you ready to 
conform if he has done so ?' To conform in the Protestant 
sense, means to embrace their deformed religion. 

"'Certainly not,' I answered; 'for if I keep myself 
free from heresy and heretical meetings, it is not 
because he or any man on earth does the same ; but 
because to act otherwise would be to deny Christ, by 
denying His faith, which may be done by deed as well 
as by word. This is what our Lord forbade under pain 
of a heavier punishment than man can inflict, ivhen He 
said, " He that shall deny Me before men, him will I deny 
before My Father Who is in Heaven." ' 

" To this the heretic answered not a word, save that 
I was stiff-necked, (a name that was applicable rather to 
himself,) and bade them take me back to prison. 

"Another time I was sent for to be confronted with 
three witnesses, servants of a certain nobleman named 
Lord Henry Seymour, son of the Duke of Somerset 
They were heretics, and avouched that on a certain day 
I had dined with their mistress and her sister, whilst they 
among others waited at table. The two sisters were 
daughters of the Earl of Northumberiand. One of thein 
was a devout Catholic, and had come to London a little 
before my imprisonment, to get my help in passing over 
to Belgium, there to consecrate herself to God. She was 
staying at the house of her sister, the wife of the aforesaid 
lord. She wanted to bring back this sister to the Catholic 
faith, which the latter had abandoned after her good 
father's death. I dined with them on the day the 

Hosted by 


196 Life of Father John Gerard. 

witnesses mentioned. It was in Lent ; and they told 
how their mistress ate meat, while the Lady Mary and 
I ate nothing but fish. Young flung this chaise in piy 
teeth with an air of triumph, as though I could not 
help acknowledging it, and thereby disclosing some of 
my acquaintances. I answered that I did not know the 
men whom he had brought up. 

'"But we know you,' said they, 'to be the same that 
was at such a place on such a day.' 

" ' You wrong your mistress,' said I, ' in saying so. I, 
however, will not so wrong her.' 

" ' What a barefaced fellow you are !' exclaimed Young. 

"'Doubtless.' I answered, 'were these men's statement 
true : as for me, I cannot speak positively in the matter, 
for reasons that I have often alleged : let them look to the 
truth and justice of what they say.' 

" Young then, in a rage, remanded me to prison." 

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" After three months, some of my friends made efforts 
to have me removed to another more comfortable prison, 
seeing that nothing could be proved against me except 
my priesthood ; and this they obtained by means of a 
handsome bribe to Young. So they went to my prison, 
which was called the Counter, and took off my fetters. 
These were rusty when they were first put on ; but by 
wearing and moving about in them every day, I had 
rendered them quite bright and shining. My cell was 
so small, that a man who had his legs free, might take 
the whole length of it in three steps. I used to shuffle 
from one end to the other, as well for exercise, as because 
the people underneath used to sing lewd songs and Geneva 
psalms ; and I wanted to drown, by the clanking of my 
chain, a noise that struck still harsher on my ear. My 
fetters then being removed, and my expenses paid, (which 
were not great, as I had had little but butter and cheese 
to season my bread withal,) they brought me before 
Young, who, making a show of anger, began to chide 
and upbraid me more than was his wont, and asked me 
whether I was yet willing to acknowledge where and with 
whom I had lived ? I answered that I could not do so 
with a safe conscience, and therefore would not, 

" ' Well then,' said he, ' I will put you in closer confine- 
ment, where you shall be safer lodged, and have iron bars 
before your window.' 

Hosted by 


198 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" ' Forthwith he wrote a warrant, and sent me to the 
prison that is called the CHnk.' He made all this show, 
that he might not appear to have taken money for what 
he did. The fact was, that the prison to which I was 
now sent was far better than the other, and more com- 
fortable for ali prisoners; but to me it afforded especial 
comfort, on account of the great number of Catholics 
whom I found there. 

"They could not now hinder me from approaching 
the sacraments, and being comforted in divers other ways, 
as I shall afterwards show ; for when I had been there 
a few months, the place was by God's grace so improved, 
that as for discharging all the duties of the Society, I 
should never wish to be at large in England, provided I 
could always Uve in the like prison and after the like 
fashion.3 So my being shut up in the Clink, seemed 
like a change from Purgatory to Paradise. Instead of 
lewd songs and blasphemies, the prayers of some Catholic 
neighbours in the next room met my ear. They came 
to my door to cheer me up, and showed me a way by 
which we could open a freer communication. This was 
through a hole in the wall, which they had covered with 
a picture, that it might not be seen. By means of it, 
they gave me, on the morrow, a letter from my friends ; 
and at the same time furnished me materials for writing 
back. I wrote therefore to Father Garnet, and told him 
the whole truth of what had happened to me, and what 
manner of replies I had made, as I have set forth above. 

This was a prison in Soulhwaik, adjoining the palace of Ihe Bishops 

of Winchcblet. In Falher More's Latin 

a small place of confinement on the ISanksiile, called 
the Oink from being ihe piison of the ' Clink liberty or manor of Soulhwaik ■ 
belonging to Ihe Biiliops of AVineheiter. " Mt^ylt-j, History of Suiny vol v 
p. 348. 

' Father Garnet writes, November 19, 1594 : " Sir Thomas Wilks goeth 
into Flanders, as it is thought for peace ; wherenpon the arraignment of the 
three Jesuits, Southwell, Walpole and Gerard is stayed. Gerard is in the 
Clink, somewhat free ; the other two so close in the Tower that none can 
hear from Ihem." Stonybursl MSS. Father Grene's Collalan. P. vol. ii. p. 550. 

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The Clink. 199 

" I also confessed, and received the most holy Body 
of Christ, through that same hole. Hut I had not to 
do this long, for the Catholics contrived to fashion a key 
that would open my door ; and then every morning, 
before the gaoler got up, they brought me to another 
part of the prison, where I said mass, a^d administered 
the sacraments to the prisoners lodged in that quarter; 
for all of them had got keys of their ceils. 

"I had just such neighbours as I would have picked 
out, had I had my choice. My next door neighbour was 
our Brother, Ralph Emerson, of whom Father Campion 
in a letter to Father General makes mention in these 
terms, 'My little man and I.' He was indeed small in 
body,' but in steadfastness and endurance he was great 
He had been already many long years in bonds, ever 
keeping godly and devout, like a man of the Society : 
and after my coming to the Clink, he remained six or 
seven years more. At last he was sent off, with other con- 
fessors of Christ, to the castle of Wisbech, where he was 
attacked with palsy. One half of his body was powerless, 
so that he could not move about or do the least thing 
for himself. He lived notwithstanding, to add by his 
patience fresh jewels to the crown that awaited him. 
Being driven into banishment with the same company, 
he came to St. Omers, and died a holy death there, to 
the great edification of the by-standers. I found this 
good Brother my next neighbour in the Clink ; overhead 
I had John Lilly, whona God's providence had shut up 
there for his own good and mine. I had other godly 
men around me, all true to their faith. 

"These having the free run of the prison, any one 
might visit them without danger. I arranged therefore^ 
that when any of my friends came to the prison, they 

■ "He is a very slender, brown little fellow. "—Confession of Ralph 
Miller : P.R.O., Doiiiestii, Elhabeth, vol. clxxiii. n. 64. Brother Emerson 
hail in 1594 spent more than three years in the Counter and ten in the Clink. 
TrauHt!, Second Series, p. 43. 

Hosted by 


200 Life of Fatlur John Gerard. 

should ask to see one of these ; and thus they got to 
have talk with me without its being noticed. I did not 
however let them into my room, but spoke to them 
through the aforesaid hole. 

" So I passed some time in great comfort and repose ; 
striving the while to gather fruit of souls, by letter and 
by word of mouth. My first gaoler was a sour-tempered 
man. who watched very closely to .sec that there were no ' 
unlawful doings amongst us. This called for great wari- 
ness on our part, to avoid discovery; but ere long God 
summoned him from the wardcnship of the prison, and 
from the prison of his body at the same time. 

" His successor was a younger man of a milder turn. 
What with coaxing, and what with bribes, I got him not 
to look into our doings too nicely, and not to come 
when he was not called for, except at certain fixed 
times, at which he always found me ready to receive him. 
" I used the liberty thus granted me for my neighbours' 
profit. I began to hear many confessions, and reconciled 
many persons to the Catholic Church. Some of these 
were heretics, but the greater number were only schis- 
matics, as I could deal more freely with these than with 
the others. It was only after long acquaintance, and on 
the recommendation of trusty friends, that I would let 
any heretics know how little restraint was put upon me. 
I do not remember above eight or ten converts from 
heresy, of whom four entered religion. Two joined our 
Society, and the other two went to other Orders. As 
for schismatics, I brought back a goodly number of them 
to the bosom of the Church. Some became religious ; 
and others gave themselves to good works in England 
during the persecution. Of these last, was Mr. John 
Rigby, afterwards martyred. His martyrdom was on this 

"On one occasion he appeared before the judges, to 
plead the cause of a Catholic lady [Mrs. Fortescue, 

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The Clink. 201 

daughter of Sir Edmund Huddlestone and sister of Mrs. 
Wiseman]. They, unwilHng to grant any boon to a 
CathoUc family, asked the advocate of what reiigion he 
was himself, that he pleaded so boldly in behalf of another; 
was he a priest ? 

'"No," he answered. 

" ' Are you a Papist ? ' 

" ' I am a Catholic' 

"'Indeed; how long have you been one?' 

"'For such a time." 

"'Who made you a Catliolic?' 

"Not to implicate me, lie gave the name of a priest 
who had been martyred shortly before [Father Jones 
alias Buckley O.S.F.]. 

" ' So you have been reconciled to the Church of 
Rome ? ' 

" Such a reconciliation is high treason by their unjust 
laws, and it was of this that they wanted to make him 
out guilty. He did not notice the snare. He had been 
taught that it was sinful to say that one was not a 
Catholic ; and thought perchance that it was forbidden 
also to throw the burden of proof on the persecutors, as 
is the custom of those that are wary. So hke a right- 
hearted, godly, and courageous man, as he was, he frankly 
answered that he had been reconciled. He was at once 
handcuffed, and thrown into prison. At his trial he 
made another good confession bf his faith, declaring that 
he gloried in being a Catholic. He received the sentence 
of death with joy. 'Whilst it was being pronounced, and 
he standing before the judges the while, of a sudden the 
gyves were loosened of themselves, and dropped off his 
legs. They were replaced by the gaoler, and if I mistake 
not, dropped off a second time. He was led back to 
prison, whence, shortly before his martyrdom, he wrote 
me a letter full of thanks for having made him a Catholic, 
and helped (though little indeed) to place him in those 

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202 Life of Father John Gerard. 

dispositions, which he hoped would soon meet with their 
reward from God. He also sent me the purse which he 
was used to bear about with him : I use it now, in honour 
of the martyr, to carry my reliquary in. 

"As he was being drawn to the place of punishment, 
he was met by a certain Earl [the Earl of Rutland], in 
company with other gentlemen. The Earl seeing him 
dragged on the hurdle, asked what he had been guilty 
of. The martyr overheard him, and answered: 'Of no 
offence against the Queen or State. I am to die for the 
Catholic faith.' The Earl, seeing him to be a stalwart 
and comely man, said : ' By my troth, thou wast made 
rather for gallantry than for martyrdom.' 

" 'As for the matter of gallantry,' the martyr answered, 
' I call God to witness, that I die a virgin.' This 
statement I can myself confirm. The Earl was much 
struck at what he heard ; and from that time began 
to look upon Catholics and their religion in a better 
light, as he has often since given proof So the holy 
man went to Heaven, where I doubt not that he pleads 
before the throne of God for his unworthy father in 

John Rigby was martyred at St. Thomas Waterings on 
the 2ist of June 1600. He was very barbarously executed, 
and he was sentenced to the death of a traitor for no 
crime but for having been reconciled to the Catholic 
Church. His life was frequently offered to him if he 
would attend the Protestant church. He was a younger 
son of Nicholas Rigby of Harrock, in the parish of 
Eccleston in Lancashire. 

■■During my stay in this prison, I found means to 
give the Spiritual Exercises. The gaoler did as I wished 
him to do ; he never came to me without being called, 
and never went into my neighbours' rooms at all. So 
we fitted an upper chamber to serve as a chapel, where 
six or seven made the Exercises, all of whom resolved 

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The Clink. 203 

to follow the counsels of Christ our Lord, and not one 
of them flinched from his purpose. 

" I found means also to provide for a very pressing 
need. Many priests of my acquaintance, being unable 
to meet with safe lodgings when they came to London, 
used to put up at inns till they had settled the business 
that brought them. Again, as my abode was fixed, and 
easy to find, the greater part of the priests that were 
sent from the seminaries abroad had instructions to apply 
to mc, that through me they might be introduced to 
their Superior, and might receive other assistance at my 
hands. Not having always places prepared, nor houses 
of Catholics to which I could send them, I rented a 
house and garden in a suitable spot, and furnished it, as 
far as was wanted, by the help of my friends. Thither 
I used to send those who brought letters of recommenda- 
tion from our Fathers, and who I was assured led a holy 
life and seemed well fitted for the mission. I maintained 
them there, till I had supplied them, through the aid of 
certain friends, with clothes and necessaries, sometimes 
even with a residence, or with a horse to go to their 
friends and kinsmen in the country. I covered all the 
expenses of this house with the alms that were bestowed 
on me. I did not receive alms from many persons, still 
less from all that came to see me ; indeed, both out of 
prison and in prison, I often refused such offers. I was 
afraid that if I always accepted what was offered, I 
might scare from me souls that wished to treat with me 
on the business of their salvation ; or receive gifts from 
those that could either ill afford it, or would afterwards 
repent of it I made it a rule therefore, never to take 
alms except from a small number of persons, whom I 
knew well. Most of what I got was from those devoted 
friends, who offered me not only their money but them- 
selves, and looked upon it as a favour when I took their 

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204 Life of Fal/ter Jolm Gerard. 

" I gave charge of this house to a very godly and 
discreet matron of good birth, whom the Lord honoured 
with martyrdom.' Her maiden name was Heigham, but 
she bore the name of Line from her deceased husband. 
Both she and her husband were beloved by God, and had 
much to suffer for His sake. This lady's father was a 
Protestant, and when he heard of his daughter's becoming 
a Catholic, he withheld the dower which he had promised 
hen He disinherited one of his sons for the same reason. 
This son. called William Heigham, is now in Spain, a lay- 
brother of the Society It is twenty-six years since I 
knew him \i.t. in 1583]. He was then a well-educated 
gentleman, finely dressed like other high-born Londoners. 
He supported a priest named Thomson, whom I after- 
wards saw martyred [at Tyburn on the 20th of April, 
1586]. As soon as his father learned that he too had 
become a Catholic, he went and sold his estate, the rents 
of which were reckoned at 6,000 florins [600/.] yearly, that 
it might not pass to his son. The son was afterwards 
arrested for the faith, and he and his priest together, if 
I mistake not, were thrown into the prison of Bridewell, 
where vagrants are shut up and put to hard labour under 
the lash. I paid him a visit there, and found him toiling 
at the tread-mill, all covered with sweat." 

Father Gerard's remembrances are borne out by the 
records." In a list of " Recusants in the Counter in Wood- 
street, June 14, 1S86," we meet "William Heigham and 
Roger Line, gentlemen. They were taken without Bishops- 
gate at mass with Blackborae alia! Tomson that was 
hanged. They are in execution for a hundred marks 
■ '^"' I-l.™ ™ ™="rf .1 Tyb.r„, r.b,.., „, ,60,, f„, h.,bo.,to, 

hU M,.Th™„. B]„kbm), . to„.„ c„f„.„ „, h„, „h„ ..d,d hi^ 
d.y. b, „„l,,d.„ ,n ,586, h.d p,„„i..d h„, Ih., it G0.I .h™id n,.k, bl„ 
wonb, df lb.1 gl„,io„ .„d, h. ,o.ld p„, to, b„, ,1,., ,h, „ijM „b,.|„ ,H. 
bke happiness." Challoner from Champney's MS. History 

' P.R.O., Dmrustic, Elisabah, vol. cxc. n. 33 ; vob cxci. n. 37 ■ vol mcv 

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The Clink. 205 

apiece. They have been divers times examined before 
Mr. Justice Young." In another Hst we are told that they 
were "Line, Hcigham, gentlemen under 19 years"; and 
in a third wc learn that " Roger Line [was] committed by 
Sir Francis Walsingham the 19th of February, I585[6], 
and William Heigham [was] committed by his Honour 
also, the 30th of July 1585." 

" On recovering his freedom, he hired himself out as 
a servant to a gentleman, that had to wife a Catholic lady 
whom I knew. She intrusted her son to his care ; he 
taught the boy the groundwork of the Latin tongue, 
besides giving him lessons on the harp, which he himself 
touched admirably. I went to see him in this situation, 
and had a long talk with him about his call to his present 

" Mistress Line, his sister, married a good husband and 
a staunch Catholic, He had been heir to a fine estate ; 
but his father or uncle (for he was heir to both) sent a 
message from his death-bed to young Line, then a prisoner 
for the faith, asking him to conform and go to some 
heretical church for once, otherwise he would have to give 
up his inheritance to his younger brother. ' If I must 
either give up God or the world.' was his courageous 
answer, ' I prefer to give up the world, for it is good to 
cleave unto God.' So both his father's and his uncle's 
estate went to his younger brother. I saw this latter once 
in his elder brother's room, dressed in silk and other finery, 
while his brother had on plain and mean clothes. This 
good man afterwards went into Belgium, where he obtained 
a pension from the King of Spain, part of which he sent 
to his wife ; and thus they lived a poor and holy life. 
His death, which happened in Belgium, left his widow 
friendless, so that she had to look to Providence for her 
support. Before my imprisonment, she had been charitably 
taken by my entertainers into their own house. They 
furnished her with board and lodging, and I made up the 

Hosted by 


206 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" She was just the sort of person that I wanted as 
head of the house that I have spoken of, to manage the 
money matters, take care of the guests, and meet the 
inquiries of strangers. She had good store of charity and 
wariness, and in great patience she possessed her sou!. 
She was nearly always ill from one or other of many divers 
diseases, which purified her and made her ready for 
Heaven. She used often to say to me, ' Though I desire 
above all things to die for Christ, I dare not hope to die 
by the hand of the executioner ; but perhaps the Lord 
will let me be taken some time in the same house with 
a priest, and then be thrown into a chill and filthy 
dungeon, where I shall not be able to last out long in 
this wretched life.' Her delight was in the Lord, and the 
Lord granted her the desires of her heart. 

" When I was rescued out of prison, she gave up the 
management of my house ; for then so many people knew 
who she was, that her being in a place was enough *to 
render it unsafe for me. So a room was hired for her in 
another person's house, where she often used to harbour 
priests. One day (it was the feast of the Purification of 
the Blessed Virgin) she let in a great many Catholics to 
hear mass, a thing which she would never have done in 
my house. Good soul, she was more careful of me than 
of herself Some neighbours noticed the throng, and 
called the constables. They, went upstairs into the room, 
which they found full of people. The celebrant was Father 
Francis Page, of the Society of Jesus, who was afterwards 
martyred.' He had pulled off his vestments before the 
priest-hunters came in ; so that they could not readily 
make out which was the priest. However, from the 
father's grave and modest look, they thought that he 
must be their man. Accordingjy they laid hold of him, 
and began questioning him and the others also. No one 
' Father Francis Page S.J. suffered al Tybum, April 30, 160Z, for his 

Hosted by 


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would own that there was a priest there ; but as the altar 
had been found ready for mass, they acknowledged that 
they had been waiting for a priest to come. While the 
Catholics and their persecutors were wrangling on this 
point, Father Francis Page, taking advantage of some 
one's opening the door, got away from those that held 
him and slipped out, shutting the door behind him. He 
then went upstairs to a place that he knew, where Mrs. 
Line had had a hiding-place made, and there he ensconced 
himself Search was made for him the whole house over, 
to no purpose, 

" So they took IVIrs. Line and the richer ones of the 
party to prison, and let the others go on bail, God 
lengthened out the martyr's life beyond her expectation. 
It was some months before she was brought to trial, on 
a charge of harbouring and supporting priests. To the 
question of 'guilty or not guilty,' she made no direct 
answer, but cried out in a loud voice, so that all could 
hear her, ' My lords, nothing grieves me, but that I could 
not receive a thousand more.'' She listened to the sen- 
tence of death with great show of joy, and thanksgiving 
to the Lord God. She was so weak, that she had to be 
carried to court in a chair, and sat there during the whole 
of the trial. After her return to prison, a little before her 
death, she wrote to Father Page, who had escaped. The 
letter is in my hands at present. She disposed therein 
of the few things that she had, leaving to me a fine lai^e 
cross of gold that had belonged to her husband. She 
mentioned me thrice in the letter, calling me her father. 
She also left some few debts which she begged me to see 
paid. Afterwards she bequeathed me her bed by word 
of mouth. I wanted to purchase it from the gaolers, who 
had plundered everything found in her cell after her death ; 
but I could only get the coverlet, which I used ever after 
during my stay in London, and reckoned it no small safe- 

' These words are given in Ihe MS. in English. 

Hosted by 


2o8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" Being arrived at the place of punishment, some 
preachers wanted to tease her, as usual, with warnings 
to abandon her errors ; but she cut them short, saying, 
'Away! I have no dealings nor communion with you.' 
Then kissing the gallows with great joy, she knelt down 
to pray, and kept on praying till the hangman had done 
his duty. So she gave up her soul to God, along with the 
martyr Father Filcock,' of the Society of Jesus, who had 
often been her confessor, and had always been her friend. 
Her martyrdom, however, happened six or seven years 
after the time of which I am now speaking.^ She managed 
my house for three years, and received therein many holy 

" I always had a priest residing in this house, whom 
I used to send to assist and console my friends, as I was 
unable to visit them myself The first^ I had there was 
Father Jones, a Franciscan, afterwards martyred, but then 
newly arrived in England. I was glad to be able to 
provide for him there, as I hoped thereby to establish a 
good feeling between his order and ours. He, however, 
finding a number of friends whom he was desirous of 
assisting, after thanking me for the hospitality afforded 
him, in a few months betook himself to his own con- 
nections. A little later he was taken, and suffered mar- 
tyrdom with great constancy. 

"After him I received another priest, lately arrived 
from Spain, and formerly known to me, Robert Drury 
by name. He was of gentle birth and well educated, and 
could consequently associate with gentlemen without 
■ Roger Filcock S.J., aiSai Arthur, executed for his priesthood, with Mark 
liarkworlh alias Lambert, O.S.B., and Anne Line, al Tyburn, February 27, 

' •■ They have executed three or four poor priests (one Qohn Pibush, priest] 
condemned four or five years ago) and Anne Line, a Catholic eentlewoman, 
only for harbouring priests," Advices Sent to Thomas Phelippes, April ^ ' 
1601. P.R.O., Flanders Cormp. ^" 

^ John Jones alias Buckley suffered at St. Thomas's Watering, July iz, 
159S ; and Robert Dr\try at Tyburn, February 36, 1608 for being priests in 
England. ^' 

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causing any suspicion. I introduced him, therefore, to 
my chief friends, and he assisted them well and zealously 
for two years and more that he tarried in my house. This 
good priest also God chose to be His witness and martyr. 
For after my escape from England, two years ago from 
this present writing, he was taken, found guilty of high 
treason, and executed accordingly ; although they had 
nothing to bring against him, save only that he was a 
priest, and refused to take the new-invented oaths. At 
his martyrdom happened a noteworthy circumstance. 
When he had arrived at the scaffold, some of the principal 
officers pressed him to have pity on himself, to conform 
to the King's laws, to go to the Protestant church, and to 
save his life. 

"'We!!, my masters,' said the martyr, 'can you warrant 
me that I shall truly be saved from death, if I consent to 
go to your churches ?' 

'"Aye, verily can we,' they replied, 'and we promise 
you this in the King's name, that you shall not die.' 

" Then the martyr turned him to the people, and said 
aloud : ' You see now what sort of high treason they find 
us guihy of. You see that religion is the only cause for 
which I and other priests are put to death.' 

" Hereupon the officers were enraged, and revenged 
themselves by cutting him down directly he was turned 
off, and disembowelling him while he was still alive. But 
they killed his body only, and had nothing more they 
could do to him. 

" In that house of mine, while I was in prison, there 
lived a while one of our fathers, who was in ill health, 
Father John Curry.' There also he died, and there he 

' Father Curry entered the Society in France in 1583, Kt. 34, and though 
he was sent back lo England immediately, he soon returned to France, for in 
1587 he had spent three years in the study of theology at Pont-i-Mousson. 
He left Chideock House for London about Michaelmas 1593. TrsuMes, 
Second Series, p. 34. His death, occurring while Father Gerard was in 
prison, will have been between May 1594 and October 1597. 

Hosted by 


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lies buried in some secret corner. For those priests who 
live secretly on the mission, we are obhged also to bury 
secretly when they die. 

■' All this while my good host [William Wiseman], who 
had been taken a little before me, was kept imprisoned ; 
and for the first four months so straitly, that neither his 
wife nor any of his friends were allowed to have any access 
to him. After this, however, the persecutors, seeing that 
they could not produce any proof against him, because 
none of the Catholic servants would acknowledge any- 
thing, and the traitor had never seen me in priest's guise, 
and was only one witness after all, by degrees relaxed a 
little of their harshness, and permitted him to be visited 
and cared for, though they still kept him in strict custody. 

"While thus close shut up, he wrote a work by no 
means contemptible, which he divided into three parts, 
and called Three Farewells to the world, or three deatlts 
in different states of soiil.^ In the first book he described 
a man of moral life, and virtuous in the opinion of men, 
but directing himself in all things by his own lights. In 
the second book he described a good and pious lady, who 
at first wished to be guided in everything, but subsequently, 
deceived by the devil, determined in some things to follow 
her own ideas. In the third book he described the death 
of a pious and devoted man, who, though living in the 
world and possessed of riches, yet always sought and 
followed the counsels of his spiritual father, manifesting 
himself entirely for the purpose of being directed by him 
to the greater glory of God. 

" It was written, not with ink, but merely with pencil, 
upon loose scraps of paper, for at that time he was kept 
so close that he could get no ink. As he finished each of 
the three parts, he sent it to me, that I might correct any- 
thing I might find against sound doctrine. He gave as 
a reason for writing the work, that he had himself found, 
' Tres valedictiones mundo dalie a tribus in diverse statu moricnlibus.— ^jl 

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as he thought, so immense a benefit from giving himself 
thoroughly to the direction of his spiriiual guide, and had 
felt in consequence so undisturbed a peace of mind, even 
when the malice of the persecutors was daily threatening 
him with death, that he could not refrain from recom- 
• mending the same course to others whom he loved. He 
said, moreover, that he wrote the book, not for the public, 
but principally for his own family, and secondly for his 
relations and friends : for that, as he could not commu- 
nicate with them by word of mouth, he desired to show 
them in writing the most secure and meritorious way to 
perfection while living in the world. For he endeavoured 
to prove that perfection was even more necessary for those 
who lived in the world than for religious. 

" Such were the sentiments of this good man. He 
nowise regretted that he had during four years given 
himself up to my direction, though he found himself in 
consequence exposed to such extreme distresses, and saw 
his family and fortune made a mark for the persecutors 
as a result of having harboured me. Nay, it was not only 
that he bore all these trials patiently, but he really tliought 
it all joy to suffer thus for the good cause. His wife also, 
though she loved her husband most tenderiy, and was of 
a peculiarly sensitive mind, yet in this juncture bore every- 
thing with a singular sweetness and patience. After I was 
transferred to the Clink, where there wa.s more chance 
of communicating with me either by word or letter, she 
took a house in the immediate neighbourhood of my 
prison, in order that she might consult me constantly, and 
provide me with everything I needed. In this house she 
and her husband, who obtained his release after a time 
by large payments of money, resided, while I remained 
in that prison. But after my escape from the Tower, 
they betook themselves back to their country seat, in 
order that they might have me with them there again." 
Though this is not the last mention of the Wisemans 

Hosted by 


212 Life of Father John Gerard. 

in Father Gerard's life, this is a convenient place for in- 
serting a proof of their steadiness and perseverance in the 
faith in spite of their persecutions. Sir Arthur Capell 
wrote' to Secretary Cecil from Hadham, August 12, 1599. 
as follows. " The townsmen of Starford have brought 
me John Gurgeene, whom tliey stayed upon su.spicion of 
being a Jesuit priest, with certain superstitious wafers, 
which I send together with his examination, and a book 
written by him, containing some Popish prayers and the 
form of mass. He only confesses that he was a messenger 
to carry the wafers and some other apparel to Mr. Wise- 
man's house at Broadoaks in Essex. Mr. Wiseman's house 
has been long known to be Popish, and his mother now 
stands condemned for entertaining a priest ; so I send 
him up to you, not knowing whether there may be any 
further matter to be got out of him." 

" In the meantime." Father Gerard continues, " I 
was so fully taken up in the prison with business, and 
with the visits of Catholics, that in the next room, 
which was Brother Emerson's, there were often six or 
eight persons at once, waiting their turn to see me. 
Nay, many of my most intimate and attached friends 
have oft-times had to wait many hours at a stretch, 
and even then I have been obliged to ask them to come 
another time. 

"Among other occupations I heard many general 
confessions. One case was that of a Catholic gentleman 
of great wealth, who had always lived quietly, cautiously 
avoiding anything that savoured of danger. At length 
however, God so willing, he was taken and thrown into 
the same prison with me, an occurrence which was certainly 
the very last he looked for. He was all the more per- 
plexed because the persecutors alleged so slight and trivial 
a cause for his imprisonment. When he spoke to me of 
this, I replied that all things indeed happened by permis- 
' P.R.O., Dmieilk, Elisaitth, vol. cclxsii. n. 36. 

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Tlie Clink. 213 

sion of God, but especially things of this sort : that He 
often warned men by such means to 'agree with their 
adversary quickly' while time allowed, and that this was ■ 
our Lord's own advice, Who wished to be rather a Father 
than a Judge. I advised him then to take the opportunity 
of this forced retirement, to enter into himself, and take 
account of his soul, how much he owed his Lord ; and 
that the rather, as he knew not whether he should ever 
after have the like opportunity. This was, I told him, 
sent him perhaps as a sort of last summons to hold himself 
prepared for death. He yielded to my advice, read the 
book called " Memoriale," by Father Louis of Granada, 
prepared himself for confession, and made it with great 
exactness, much to his own consolation and mine. At this 
time he was in Strong aud perfect health, but a few days 
later, being released from prison, he took ill and died 
within two months. 

"About this time I assisted several persons to turn 
their minds from secular things, and by God's grace to 
follow the counsels of our Lord. Among these were two 
young men, friends, who were writers in a certain office 
in London, an occupation which gave them a considerable 
income. One was Father Francis Page, afterwards 
enrolled in the glorious army of martyrs. His friend, a 
man of excellent parts, gave himself to the study of 
theology, with the view of becoming a priest and entering 
the Society ; but he died during his studies, leaving 
behind him a reputation for great virtue and holiness. 

" Mr. Francis Page was the son of well-to-do parents, 
and being both handsome and very winning in manner, 
was beloved by the daughter of his employer, a man of 
great wealth. The love was mutual ; indeed it was by the 
^ady's means that he had become a Catholic ; and they 
had engaged with each other to marry when the consent 
of their parents might be had. The young lady was herself 
a good and devoted sou! : she used frequently to 

Hosted by 


214 Life of Father John Gerard. 

come to mc for direction, and at last introduced Mr. 
Page to me. He was already a Catholic, but was, as I 
have said, looking forward to live in the married state. 
There shone in him however so singular a modesty and 
candour of mind, and I found him so powerfully drawn to 
virtue, that I could not doubt he was intended for higher 
things. I began therefore to .speak with him of the un- 
certainty of riches, and of the delusive hopes of happiness 
in this world, and put before him the possibility of a more 
perfect life. I did this the rather, because I thought it 
unlikely that the parents of the young lady would consent 
to her marrying below her degree. After this, I gave him 
some meditations, and some writings to copy out which 
treated of the spiritual life ; and God in His goodness 
gradually weaned his mind from the love of transitory 
things and fixed it on things eternal. In fact he came to 
the determination of giving up both his place in the office 
and the thought of marrying; and, in order that he might 
be nearer to me for a time, he came to live as a servant in 
the house of the lady my hostess, though such a position 
was of course far below that which he was leaving. But 
he wished to prepare himself for greater things which he 
hoped for, and in this he was much helped by Father 
Edward Coffin, who was then residing in my hostess' 
family. This same Father often visited me, and consoled 
me much. I shall have occasion to speak more of Father 
Francis Page hereafter. 

"While I remained in this prison, I sent over numbers 
of boys and young men to Catholic seminaries abroad. 
Some of these are, at this present, priests of the Society-, 
and engaged on the English Mission: others still remain 
in the seminaries, in positions of authority, to assist in 
training labourers for the same field. On one occasion I 
had sent two boys on their way to St. Omers, and had 
given them letters of recommendation, written with iemon- 
j'uice, so that the writing was not visible on the paper. 

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The Clink. 


In the paper itself I wrapped up a few collars, so that 
it might seem that its only use was to keep the collars 
clean. The boys were taken, and, on being questioned, 
confessed that I had sent them. They let out also that 
I had given them this letter, and had told them, when 
they came to a certain college of ours, by which they had 
to pass to reach St. Omers {for they had to pass by 
Ostend, which is not the usual way, and thus they came to 
be taken), to bid the fathers steep the paper in water, and 
they would be able to read what I had written. On this 
information, then, the paper was steeped by the authorities, 
and two letters of mine were read, written on the same 
paper. One was written in Latin to our Belgian Fathers ; 
this I had consequently signed with my own proper name. 
The other was addressed to our English fathers at St. 
Omers. The letters having been thus discovered, I was. 
sent for to be examined. 

" Young however was no longer to be my examiner.. 
He had died in his sins, and that most miserably. As he 
lived, so he died :' he lived the devil's confessor, he died 
the devil's martyr : for not only did he die in the devil's 
service, but he brought on his death through that very- 
service. He was accustomed to work night and day to 
increase the distress of the Catholics, and to go forth 
frequently in inclement weather, at one or two o'clock in 
the morning, to search their houses. By these labours he 
fell into a consumption,^ of which he died. He died more- 
over overwhelmed with debt, so that it might be clear that 
he abandoned all things for the devil's service. Notwith- 
standing all the emoluments of his office, all the plunder 
he took from the persecuted Catholics, and the large bribes 
they were constantly giving him to buy off his malicious 

■ Quali5 Vila, finis \is..—MS. 

' Morbum regium. — MS. Consumplion is a form of scrofula or King's, 
evil, and seems to be the form most likely to be brought on by the causes 
here ruetilioned. In classical Latin, however, morl/us rfp'iit signilies- 
jaundice, and this may be the meaning here. 

Hosted by 


2i6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

oppression, his debts were said to amount to no less a sum 
than a hundred thousand florins [10,000/.] ; and I have 
heard even a larger sura mentioned than this. Perhaps 
he expected the Queen would pay his debts; but she 
did nothing of the sort. All she did, was to send a 
gentleman from the Court to visit him, when he was con- 
fined to his bed and near death ; and this mark of favour 
so delighted him, that he seemed ready to sing Nunc 
dimittis. But it was a false peace, and the lifting up of 
the soul that goes before a fall ; and like another Aman, 
he was bidden not to a banquet, but to execution, and 
that for ever. So with his mouth full of the Queen's 
praises, and his great obligations to her Majesty, he died 
a miserable death, and anguish took the place of his joy. 
The joy of the hypocrite is but for an instant. 

" This man's successor in the office of persecuting and 
harassing the servants of God, was William [VVaad or] 
Wade, now Governor of the Tower of London, but at that 
time Private Secretary of the Lords of the Council. For 
the members of the Council choose always to have a man 
in their service, to whose cruelty anything particularly 
odious may be attributed, instead of its being supposed to 
be done by their warrant. This Wade then sent for me, 
and first of all showed me the blank paper that I had 
given the boys, and asked me if I recognized it. I 
answered : 'No, I do not' And in fact 1 did not recognize 
it, for I did not know the boys had been taken. Then he 
dipped the paper in a basin of water, and showed me the 
writing, and my name subscribed in full. When I saw it, I 
said: 'I do not acknowledge the writing. Any one may 
easily have counterfeited my handwriting and forged my 
signature ; and if such boys as you speak of have been 
taken, they may perhaps in their terror say anything that 
their inquisitors want them to say, to their own prejudice 
and that of their friends ; a thing I will never do. At the 
same time, I do not deny that it would be a good deed to 

Hosted by 


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send such boys abroad to be better educated ; and I would 
gladly do it, if I had the means ; but closely confined as I 
am in prison, I cannot do anything of the kind, though 
I should like to do it.' 

" He replied to me with a torrent of abuse for denying 
my signature and handwriting, and said: 'In truth, you 
have far too much liberty ; but you shall not enjoy it long.' 
Then he rated the gaoler soundly, for letting me have so 
much freedom." 

Father Bartoli in his Lighilterra,' has the following 
passage about Father Gerard, whom he knew personally 
at Rome. "At his first entrance into this prison (the 
Clink) he procured himself a habit of the Society, and 
continued to wear it from that time forward, even in the 
face of all London, when he was being taken to his 
different examinations ; so that the people crowded to see 
a Jesuit in his habit, while the preachers were all the more 
exasperated at what they thought an open defiance of 

This proceeding at that time was not anything very 
exceptional, for Father Weston in his narrative ^ gives it as 
one of the signs that warned Catholics that Anthony 
Tyrrel was wavering in his faith, that without any neces- 
sity, in the Clink prison, he would wear secular dress. His 
own clerical costume in prison he mentions as a matter 
of course. "On the succeeding day I set out, having 
changed my habit for secular clothes." 

Father Gerard thus mentions his own practice. " I was 
sent for on two or three other occasions, to be examined ; 
and whenever I came out of this prison I always wore a 
Jesuit's cassock and cloak, which I had had made as soon 
as I came among CathoHc fellow-prisoners. The sight of 
this dress raised mocks from the boys in the streets, and 
put my persecutors in a rage. On the first occasion, they 
said I was a hypocrite. I replied : 'When I was arrested, 
' Lib. V. cap. 13. " Troubles, Second Series, pp. 304, 209. 

Hosted by 


2i8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

you called me a courtier, and said that I had dressed 
myself in that fashion in order to- disguise my real 
character, and to be able to deal with persons of rank 
in safety and without being recognized. I told you then 
that I did not like a layman's dress, and would much 
rather wear my own. Well, now I am doing so ; and you 
are in a rage again. In fact, you are not satisfied with 
either piping or mourning, but you seek excuses for 
inveighing against me.' 

•'To this they answered: ' Why did you not go about 
in this dress before, instead of wearing a disguise, and 
taking a false name ? A thing no good man would do.' 

" I replied : ' I am aware you would like us not to do 
so, in order that we might be arrested at once, and not be 
able to do any good in the work of rescuing and gaining 
souls. But do you not know that St. Raphael personated 
another, and took another name, in order that, not being 
known, he might better accomplish God's work for which 
he had been sent.' 

"At another time I was examined before the Dean 
of Westminster, the dignitary who has taken the place of 
the former Abbot of the great royal monastery there. 
Topcliffe and some other commissioners were present. 
Their object was to confront me with the good widow, my 
host's mother, of whom I have before spoken; and who 
was confined at this time in a prison' near the church 
at Westminster ; for she was not yet condemned to death ; 
that happened later. They wanted to see if she recog- 
nized me. So when I came into the room where they 
brought me, I found her already there. When she saw me 
coming in with the gaolers, she almost jumped for joy: 
but she controlled herself, and said to them : ' Is that the 

' The Galchouse prison, near the west end of the Abbey, " is so called of 
livo gates, Ihe one out of the College court towards the north, on the east side 
whereof was the Bishop of London's prison for clerks convict ; and the other 
gate, adjoining the first, but towards the west, is a gaol or prison for offenders 
thither committed." Slow, p. 1^6. 

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person you spoke of? I do not know him ; but he looks 
hke a priest' 

" Upon this she made me a very low reverence, and I 
bowed in return. Then they asked me if I did not recog- 
nize her. 

" I answered : * I do not recognize her.' ' At the same 
time, you know this is my usual way of answering, and I 
will never mention any places, or give the names of per- 
sons that are known to me (which this lady however is 
not) ; because to do so, as I told you before, would be 
contrary both to justice and charity.' 

" Then Topcliffe said : ' Tell the truth : have you recon- 
ciled any person to the Church of Rome ? ' 

" I quite understood his blood-thirsty intention, that 
being a thing expressly prohibited under penalty of high 
treason, as I mentioned before in the case of Master 
Rigby who was martyred ; but then I knew I was already 
as much compromised on account of my priesthood, and 
therefore I answered boldly: 'Yes, in truth I have received 
some persons, and I am sorry that I have not done this 
good service to more.' 

"'Well,' said Topcliffe, ' how many would you like to 
have reconciled, if you could ? A thousand .^' 

"'Certainly,' I said, 'a hundred thousand, and many 
more still, if I could.' 

"'That would be enough,* said Topcliffe, 'to levy an 
army against the Queen.' 

"'Those whom I reconciled,' said I, 'would not be 
against the Queen, but all for her ; for we hold that obedi- 
ence to superiors is of obligation.' 

"'No such thing," said Topcliffe, 'you teach rebellion. 

■ We musl here refer our readers to a note on a former passage (p. 163). 
'ill be noticed that when such answers aii the above are given, the speaker 
n adds something to show the questioner that he has no tight to expect a 
answer, and consequently no ground for trusting tlie present answer to be 

Hosted by 


220 Life of Father John Gerard. 

See, I have here a Bull of the Pope, granted to Sanders ' 
when he went to Ireland to stir up the Queen's subjects to 
rebellion. See, here it is. Read it.' 

" I answered : 'There is no need to read it. It is likely 
enough that the Pontiff, if he sent him, gave him authority. 
But / have no power to meddle at all in such nutters. We 
are forbidden to have anything to do with such things. I 
never have, and never will.' 

" ' Take and read it,' he said : ' I will have you read it." 
"So I took it, and seeing the name of Jesus on the 
top, I reverently kissed it. 

" ' What,' said Topcliffe, 'you kiss a Bull of the Pope, 
do you ? ' 

'"I kissed,' said I, 'the name of Jesus, to which all 
love and honour are due. But if it is a Bull of the Pope, 
as you say, I reverence it also on that score' 

"And so saying, I kissed the printed paper again. 
Then Topchffe, in a furious passion, began to abuse me 
with indecent accusations. 

" At this insolence, to own the truth, I somewhat lost 
command of myself ; and though I knew that he had no 
grounds which seemed probable even to himself for what 
he said, but had uttered it from pure malice, I exclaimed ; 
" I call the great and blessed God to witness, that all 
your insinuations are false.' 

" And, as I spoke, I laid my hand on the book that was 
open before me on the table. It was a copy of the Holy 
Bible, but according to their corrupt translation into the 
vulgar tongue. Then Topcliffe held his peace ; but the 
Dean took up the word. 

" ■ Are you willing,' said he, 'to be sworn on our Bible?' 
The better instructed Catholics, who can show the dis- 
honesty of that translation, usually refuse to do this. 

" I replied : ' In truth, under the necessity of rebutting 

' The celebrated theologian 

rapid Legate into Ireland by Gregory XIII. 

Hosted by 


The Clink. 221 

this man's false charges at once, I did not take notice what 
version this was. However, there are some truths, as for 
instance the Incarnation and Passion of Christ, that have 
not been corrupted by mis-translation ; and by these I call 
the truth of God to witness. There are many other things 
falsely rendered, so as to involve heresies; and these I 
detest and anathematize.' 

"So saying, I laid my hand again upon the book, and 
more firmly than before. Then the old man was angry, 
and said : ' I will prove that you are a heretic' 

"I replied : 'You cannot prove it' 

" ' I will prove it,' he said, ' thus : Whoever denies Holy 
Scripture is a heretic : you deny this to be Holy Scripture : 

" I replied : ' This is no true syllogism ; it shifts from 
general to particular, and so ha.s four terms,' 

"The old man answered: 'I could make syllogisms 
before you were born.' 

"'Very hkely,' I said; 'but the one you have just 
produced is not a true one.' 

" However, the good old man ' would not try a new 
middle-term, and made no further attempt to prove me a 
heretic. But one urged one thing, and another another, 
not in the way of argument, but after their usual plan, 
asking me such questions as they knew very well I did not 
like to answer ; and then, in the end, they sent me back to 

■ Gabriel Goodman, Dean of We^tminsler from 1561 to 1601. 

Hosted by 


222 Life of Father Joltn Gerard. 

AaoHosT F.ther Gerard's converts at this time there was one 
whose history is thus recorded in the Chronicle of St. Monica's, 
Louvain. "Unto this conversion and calling to religion of our 
first subprioress. Sister Elizabeth Shirley [whom Father Gerard 
in one of his letters calls his consin], ,e will adjoin another' of 
the elders, to wit. Sister Anne BrtimSeld, becanse it showeth 
evidently with what a powerful hand Almighty God calleth some 
nnto Him amidst all the pleasures of the world, and how the 
Divine Wisdom, having in the forementioned disposed things 
sweetly, m this disposed them strongly. She was daughter to 
Edward Bramfield, Esquire in die county of Surrey, who living 
long a schismatic, yet some two years before his death was 
reconciled and died a good Catholic. Aller whose decease his 
widow, named Catherine Fromans before her marriage, being a 
gentlewoman of very hnc behaviour and having good friends, was 
called to the Court of Queen Ehiabeth and made mother to the 
Maids of Honour Not being a Catholic as her deceased 
husband, but only well-minded, she then took this her daughter 
Anne to the Court at the age of sixteen, where for fom years 
she gave herself wholly to the pleasures and delights of the 
world, yet that so being of a high mind and aiming at greater 
matches than her degree, she never was enthralled in the love 
of any man amidst the occasions of such a Court as that was 
for Almighty God, Who intended to satisfy her aspiring mincl 
with no less than Himself and to bring her into a higher estate 
than [that] of any worldly nobility, pemiitted not His future 
spouse to be defied with sensual love ; but behold, against the 
time of a great marriage in the Court, when she supposed to 
have had abundant pleasure and follies, suddenly all is turned 
quite contrary, for so great a cloud of affliction invadeth her 
mind, and so deep a melancholy accompanied with horrible and 
desperate temptations, that all the pleasures of the Court were 
turned now into sorrows, her feasting into mourning, her tears 
poured forth amain whenever she could get out of company, and 
being once gotten alone, which was very hard to do in that 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XVII. 223 

pl dlmtg dgtl hg m'i- 

ft tlthhldal mf hgdkwt 

wh t h Id h Ip h t dd ly h d th 1 

mtl 1 Iddbm h hd 

pl h fjfRlg H d Id 

t 1 h b t gl t h /■ / i A M 

Cd dj Pit llhlp) w idly pl 

h d b gl bl SI h d g h t h 

ddtk ghtmptl b yt 

C th 1 1 h f R I H h 

td dyhdid t p whph 

q f tl k g p It, Th 1 1 th 

d t h Ir h b [h ] p d th ght t 

llyLyh Idg ht d bkfChl 

p J th t ffl m d h II C m d 1 Id 

IjrsB h Idt f! hCtw 

Ih II tl dfefldlk th Id 

h H } h p d h th t > 

d f 1 f tl id h Ip h b t 11 

dh rs drs thttlfchh 

th gh by 1 1 pl g th Id. 

Shht d dl It dfhtlCt 

h h h dd b t L d Id 1 th 5 -uid 

hf gbkC hfflt d 

1 d h th t 1 k g t 

f d Ih^hdj, hpi>hhlfb 

t d bl f d -^.1 ght> G d f g t } t in 

th bt dy£,i htw Chlhgh 

kn ghC dgh dd 

1 h ly ask d 1 1 an d Wh h d 

h k 1 d 1 t id 1 Ip 1 h as 

hffl tdH Ih] Idbgh 

wi h Id h If 1 bh d d hi d 

bt, lldtlffl It d}fh 

th g Iddlf&dk bg 

her to one as he had said the other day, who thereupon 

brouj,l t her to Father Garret [Gerard], who instructed her in 

Cathol c rel g on and reconciled her, whereupon her mind was 

Hosted by 


Life of Father John Gerard. 

so quieted that s!i 



t d B 

t > 



t h Id t k 

no pleastire in the 
as the said Father 

r 1 

h Jl f 
f h 

C t 11 d 
1 gth 1 d 
tak Ig 




covered to him h 





life, and he very 



d d 

h m 


d d h 

therein. Then co 


fe f 


1 h d 

mind to the Clari 





fit biy 

as it were, said in 





t g 

t S U I 

for she had long b f 



p k 

h 1 

Lou vain, whereupo 


I G 


feht f 

t h Iph 

over, but being tak 

d 1 pp d 

p th 


h 1 f d 

with Father Garnet 




h Ip 


h h h dd 

and sent her over 






M rj W 1 h 

iiiaL tiic *jdy iweive 

1 d t th Lh h 

she was on the sea f 

Hosted by 



1595 TO 1S97- 
"On another occasion they examined me, and all the 
other Catholics that were confined in the same prison 
with me, in a public place called Guildhall, where Topcliffe 
and several other commissioners were present. When they 
had put their usual questions, and received from me the 
usual answers, they came to the point; intending, I ima- 
gine, to sound us all as to our feelings towards the State, 
or else to entrap us in some expressions about the State, 
that might be made matter of accusation. They asked 
me then, whether I acknowledged the Queen as the true 
governor and Queen of England. 

" I answered, ' I do acknowledge her as such,' 
"'What,' said Topcliffe. 'in spite of Pius V.'s excom- 
munication .' ' 

" I answered, ' I acknowledge her as our Queen, not- 
withstanding I know there is such an excommunica- 

"The fact was, I knew that the operation of that 
excommunication had been suspended for all in England 
by a declaration of the Pontiff, till such time as its execu- 
tion became possible. 

" Topcliffe proceeded : ' What would you do in case 
the Pope sent an army into England, asserting that the 
object was solely to bring back the kingdom to the 
Catholic religion, and protesting that there was no other 
way left of introducing the Catholic faith, and, moreover, 

Hosted by 


226 Life of Father John Gerard. 

commanding all in virtue of his Apostolical authonty to 
aid his cause ? Whose side would you then take, the 
Pope's or the Queen's ? ' 

" I saw the man's malicious cunning, and that his aim 
was, that whichever way I answered I might injure myself, 
either in soul or body, and so I worded my reply thus : 
'I am a true Catholic, and a true subject of the Queen. 
If, then, this were to happen, which is unlikely,,and which 
I think will never be the case, I would act as became a 
true Catholic and a true subject' 

" ' Nay, nay,' said he, ' answer positively and to the 

" ' I have declared my mind,' said I, ' and no other 
answer will 1 make,' 

" On this he flew into a most violent rage, and vomited 
out a torrent of curses, and ended by saying, 'You think 
you will creep to kiss the Cross this year ; but before the 
time comes, I will take good care you do no such 

" He meant to intimate, in the abundance of his charity, 
that he would take care I should go to Heaven by the rope 
before that time. But he had not been admitted into the 
secrets of God's sanctuary, and did not know my great 
unworthiness. Though God had permitted him to execute 
his malice on others, whom the Divine Wisdom knew to 
be worthy and well-prepared, as on Father Southwell, and 
others, whom he pursued to the death, yet no such great 
mercy of God came to me from his anger. Others, indeed, 
for whom a kingdom was prepared by the Father, were 
advanced to Heaven by our Lord Jesus through his means; 
but this heavenly gift was too great for an angry man to 
be allowed to bestow on me. However, he was really in 
some sort a prophet in uttering these words, though he 
meant them differently from the sense in which they were 

"What I have mentioned happened about Christmas 

Hosted by 


From the Clink to the Tower. 22-/ 

[iS94l' In the following Lent' he himself was thrown 
into prison for disrespect to the members of the Queen's 
Council, on an occasion, if I mistake not, when he had 
pleaded too boldly in behalf of his only son, who had killed 
a man with his sword in the great hall of the Court of 
Queen's Bench. This took place about Passion Sunday. 
We then, who were in prison for the faith, seeing- our 
enemy Aman about to be hanged on his own gibbet, began 
to lift up our heads, and to use what liberty we had a little 
more freely, and we admitted a greater number to the 
sacraments, and to assist at the services and holy rites of 
the Church. Thus it was that on Good Friday [1595] a 
large number of us were together in the room over mine — 
in fact, all the Catholics in the prison, and a number of 
others from without I had gone through all the service, 
and said all the prayers appointed for the day, up to the 
point where the priest has to lay aside his shoes. I had 
put them off, and had knelt down, and was about to creep 
towards the Cross and make the triple adoration of it; 
when, just as I had moved two paces, the head gaoler 
came and knocked at the door of my room underneath 
and as I did not answer from within he began to batter 
violently at the door and make a great noise. As soon 
as I heard it, I knew that the chief gaoler was there, 
because no other would have ventured to behave in that 
way to me : so I sent some one directly, to say that I 
would come without delay, and then, instead of going on 
with the adoration of the material cross, I hastened to the 

■ " From Ihe Marshalsea ihis Monday b Easier-week, 1595. The humble 
prisoner of her Majesty Rye. Topcliffe " to the Lords of the Privy Council 
enclosing copies in hia hand of two letters to the Queen, one dated the Ijlh of 
April 1595, the other "At the Marshalsea this Good or evil Friday, 
1595." la the last-mentioned letter, Topcliffe wrote to Elizabeth: "In all 
prisons rejoicings; and it is like that the fresh dead bones of Father 
Southwell at Tyburn and Father Walpole at York, executed both since 
Shrovetide, will dance for joy." Brit. Mus., Harldan MSS., 6698, £ 184. 
The fuDest and best account of Richard Topcliffe is to be foimd in Dr. Jessopp's 
One Generation of a Norfolk Home, p. 78. 

Hosted by 


228 Life of Father John Gerard. 

spiritual cross that God presented to me, and taking off 
the sacred vestments that I was wearing, I went down 
with speed, for fear the gaoler might come up after me, 
and find a number of others, who would have thus been 
brought into trouble. When he saw me, he said in a loud 
tone of voice, ' How comes it that I find you out of your 
room, when you ought to be kept strictly confined to 

" As I knew the nature of the man, I pretended in 
reply to be angry, that one who professed to be a friend 
should have come at such a time as that, when if ever we 
were bound to be busy at our prayers. 

" ' What,' said he, ' you were at mass, were you ? I 
will go up and see.' 

" ' No such thing,' I said ; ' you seem to know very 
h'ttle of our ways : there is not a single mass said to-day 
throughout the whole Church. Go up if you like ; but 
understand that, if you do, neither I nor any one of the 
Catholics will ever pay anything for our rooms. You may 
put us all, if you like, in the common prison of the poor 
who do not pay. But you will be no gainer by that ; 
whereas, if you act in a friendly way with us, and do not 
come upon us unawares in this manner, you will not find 
us ungrateful, as you have not found us hitherto.' 

" He softened down a little at this, and then I said, 
' What have you come for now, I pray .' ' 

" ' Surely,' said he, ' to greet you from Master Topcliffe.' 

" ' From him ? ' I said, ' and how is it that he and I 
are such great friends .' Is he not in such a prison ) He 
cannot do anything against me just now, I fancy.' 

" ' No,* said the gaoler, ' he cannot. But he really 
sends to greet you. When I visited him to-day, he asked 
me how you were. I replied that you were very well. 
' But he does not bear his imprisonment,' said Master 
Topclifie, 'as patiently as I do mine. I would have you 
greet him then in my name, and tell him what I have said.' 

Hosted by 


Front the Clink to the Tower. 229 

So I have come now for the purpose of repeating his 
message to you.' 

" ' Very well,' I replied. ' Now tell him from me, that 
by the grace of God I bear my imprisonment for the cause 
of the faith with cheerfulness, and I could wish his cause 
were the same.' 

"Thereupon the gaoler went away, rating his servant, 
however, for not having kept me more closely confined. 
And thus Topcliffe really accomplished what he had pro- 
mised, having checked me in the very act of adoration, 
although without thinking of what he said, and with 
another intent at the time. Thus was Saul among the 
prophets. However, he did not prevent my going up 
again and completing what I had begun. 

" The man who had charge of my room would not 
do anything in our rooms without my leave. And after 
my first gaoler, who soon died, the others who succeeded 
were well disposed to oblige me. One of them, who had 
the gaolership by inheritance, I made a Catholic. He 
immediately gave up his post and sold the right of succes- 
sion, and became the attendant of a Catholic gentleman, 
a friend of mine, and' afterwards accompanied his son to 
Italy, and got a vocation to the religious state. At present 
he is a prisoner in the very prison where he had been my 
gaoler. The next who had the charge of me after him 
being a married man with children, was kept by fear of 
poverty from becoming a Catholic ; but yet he was after- 
wards so attached to myself and all our friends, that he 
received us into his own house, and sometimes concealed 
there such Cathohcs as were more sorely pressed than 
others by the persecution. And when I was to be got 
out of the Tower of London, with serious risk to all who 
aided the enterprize, he himself in person was one of three 
who exposed themselves to such great danger. And 
although he was nearly drowned the first night of the 
attempt, he rowed the boat the next night as before, as 

Hosted by 


230 Life of Father John Gerard. 

I shall hereafter relate. For not long after what I just 
now mentioned, I was removed from that prison to the 
Tower of London : the occasion of which was the fol- 

"There was in the prison with me a certain priest,' 
to whom I had done many good services. When he first 
came to England. I had lodged him in an excellent house 
with some of my best friends ; I had made Catholics of 
his mother and only brother ; I had secured him a number 
of friends when he was thrown into prison, and had made 
him considerable presents. I had always shown him affec- 
tion, although, perceiving that he was not firm and steady 
in spirit, but rather hankered too much after freedom, I 
did not deal confidently with him, as with others in the 
prison, especially Brother Emerson and John Lilly. Never- 
theless this good man, from some motive or other, procured 
my removal ; whether in the desire and expectation that, 
if I were gone, all whom he saw coming to me would 
thenceforth come to him, or in order to curry favour with 
our enemies, and obtain liberty or some such boon for 
himself, is not certain. Be that as it may, he reported to 
our enemies, that he was standing by, when I handed a 
packet of letters dated from Rome and Brussels to a 
servant of Father Garnet's, of the name of Little John 
[Nicholas Owen], about whom I have before spoken. This 
latter, after having been arrested in my company, as I have 
related, and subjected to various examinations, but without 
disclosing anything, had been released for a sum of money 
which some Catholic gentlemen paid. For his services 
were indispensable to them and many others, as he was 
a first-rate hand at contriving priests' hiding-places. The 
priest then reported that I had given this man letters, and 

■ William Alkinsoi), the aposlate priest, in a letter to Ebckwell the arch- 
priest, dated April 9, 1602, said that he had been in prison with Father 
Gerard. Barloli, InghiUerta, p. 416. This man dared to offer to poison 
the Earl of Tyrone in a sacred host. P.R.O.. Domeslic, Elhabcth, vol. ccli. 

Hosted by 


From the Clink to the Tower. 231 

that I was in the habit of receiving letters from beyond 
the sea addressed both to my Superior and to myself. 

"Acting on this information, the persecutors sent a 
Justice of the Peace to me one day, with two Queen's 
messengers, or pursuivants as they call them. These 
came up to my room on a sudden with the head-gaoler ; 
but by God's Providence they found no one with me at the 
time except two boys, whom I was instructing with inten- 
tion to send them abroad : one of whom, if I remember 
right, escaped, the other they imprisoned for a time. But 
they found nothing else in my room that I was afraid 
of being seen ; for I was accustom.ed to keep all my manu- 
scripts and all other articles of importance in some holes 
made to hide things. All these holes were known to 
Brother Emerson ; and so after my removal he took out 
everything, and among the rest a reliquary that I have 
with me now, and a store of money that I had in hand for 
the expenses of my house in town, of which I have before 
spoken, to the amount of thirteen hundred florins [130/.], 
This money he sent to my Superior, who took charge 
of the house from that time till I was got out of prison. 

" When these officials came in they began to question 
me ; and when the examination was over, which it soon 
■was, as they could get nothing from me of what they 
wanted to know, they began to search the room all over, 
to find letters or something else, that might serve their 
turn and injure me. While the Justice of the Peace was 
rummaging my books, one of the pursuivants searched my 
person, and opening my doublet, he discovered my hair- 
shirt At first he did not know what it was, and said l 
'What is this?' 

"'A shirt,' I replied. 

■' ' Ho, ho ! ' said he, ' it is a hair-shirt.' And he caught 
hold of it, and wanted to drag it off my body by force. 

" This insolence of the variet, to confess my imper- 
fection honestly, excited me more than anything I have 

Hosted by 


232 Life of Father John Gerard. 

ever had to endure from my enemies, and I was within a 
little of thrusting him violentJy back; but I checked my- 
self by God's grace, and claimed the Justice's protection, 
who immediately made him give over. So they sought, 
but found nothing that they sought for in my room except 
myself; and me they took at once, and went straight to 
the Tower of London with me, and there handed me 
to the Governor, whose titie is King's Lieutenant. He 
was a knight of the name of Barkeley. He conducted 
me at once to a lai^e high tower of three stories, with 
a separate lock-up place in each, one of a number of 
different towers contained within the whole inclosure. He 
left me for the night in the Idwest part, and committed 
the custody of my person to a servant in whom he placed 
great confidence. The servant brought a little straw at 
once, and throwing it down on the ground went away, 
fastening the door of ray prison, and securing the upper 
door both with a great bolt and with iron bars. I recom- 
mended myself therefore to God, Who is wont to go 
down with His people into the pit, and Who never aban- 
doned me in my bondage, as well as to the most Blessed 
Virgin, the Mother of Mercy, and to my Patron Saints 
and Guardian Angel ; and after prayer I lay down with a 
calm mind on the straw, and slept very well that night 
[April 12, 1597]. 

" The next day I examined the place, for there was 
some light, though dim ; and I found the name of Father 
Henry Walpole, of blessed memory," cut with a knife 
on the wall, and not far from there I found his oratory, 
which was a space where there had been a narrow window, 
now blocked up with stones. There he had written on 
either side with chalk the names of the different choirs of 
Angels, and on the top above the Cherubim and Seraphim 
the name of Mary Mother of God, and over that the 
uted at York, April 7, 1595, for his priest- 

Hosted by 


From the Clink to the Tower. 233 

name of Jesus, and over that again in Latin, Greek, and 
Hebrew, the name of God. It was truly a great conso- 
lation to me, to find myself in this place, hallowed by 
the presence of so great and so devoted a martyr, the 
place too in which he was frequently tortured, to the 
number, as I have heard, of fourteen times. Probably 
they were unwilling to torture him in public and in the 
ordinary place, because they did it oftener than they would 
have it known. And I can well believe that he was racked 
that number of times, for he lost through it the proper 
use of his fingers. This I can vouch for from the following 
circumstances. He was carried back to York, to be exe- 
cuted in the place where he was taken on his first landing 
in England, and while in prison there he had a discussion 
with some ministers -which he wrote out with his own 
hand.' A part of this writing was given to me, together 
with some meditations on the Passion of Christ, which he 
had written in prison before his own passion. These 
writings however I could scarcely read at all, not because 
they were written hastily, but because the hand of the 
writer could not form the letters. It seemed more like 
the first attempts of a child, than the handwriting of a 
scholar and a gentleman such as he was. Yet he used 
to be at Court before the death of Father Campion,^ in 
whose honour he also wrote some beautiful verses in the 
English tongue,3 declaring that he and many others had 
received the warmth of life from that blessed martyr's 
blood, and had been animated by it to follow the more 
perfect counsels of Christ. 

■ II was Father Walpoie's cuslom lo make notes of his conferences with 
mmisters. In the Public Record Office {Do»Mlic, Elizabdk. vol. ccxiviii. n. 51) 
Ihere IS an interesling record in his own hand of his discussions while he was 
in the custody of Outlaw the pursuivant, at York, 

' Edmund Campion S.J. suffered at TjburJi, December I, 1581, for a 
pretended conspiracy at Kome and RKelms. The Acl of Eliiabeth (1585), 
which made the mere presence of a priest in England high treason, had not 
yet been passed. 

3 These are the verses commencing "Why do I use my paper, pen and 
ink?" mentioned j«/^o, p, ij8. 

Hosted by 


234 Life of Father John Gerard. 

"When therefore I found myself in Father Wal pole's 
cell, I rejoiced exceedingly thereat : but I was not worthy 
to be the successor of such a man in his place of suffering. 
For on the day following my gaoler, either because he 
thought to do me a favour, or in consequence of his 
master's orders, brought me into the upper room, which 
was sufficiently large and commodious for a prisoner. I 
told him that I preferred to stay in the lower dungeon, and 
mentioned the reason, but as he showed himself opposed 
to this, I asked him to allow me to go there sometimes 
and pray. This he promised me, and in fact frequently 
permitted. Then he inquired of me if he could go for me 
anywhere to any friends of mine who would be willing 
to send me a bed. For it is the custom in this prison that 
a bed should not be provided, but that a prisoner should 
provide himself a bed and other furniture, which afterwards 
goes to the Lieutenant of the Tower, even though the 
prisoner should be Uberated. I replied that I had no friends 
to whom I could send, except such as I left in the prison 
from which I had been brought : ' these, perhaps, if he 
would call there, would give me a plain bed by way of 
alms. The gaoler therefore went to the Catholics detained 
in the Clink, who immediately sent me a bed such as they 
knew I wished for; that is, a mattrass stuffed with wool 
and feathers after the Italian fashion. They sent also 
a coat and some linen for me ; and asked him always 
to come there for anything I wanted, and promised to 
give money or anything else, provided he brought a note 
signed by me of things I needed. They also gave him 
money at that time for himself, and besought him to treat 
me kindly." 

■ This was said of coi 

irse, because it wa 

s dangerous t 

of any friends who were 

slill at liberty. 

It could do 

those already in prison. 

Hosted by 



" On the third day immediately after dinner came my 
gaoler to me, and with sorrowful mien to!d me that the 
Lords Commissioners had come, and with them the 
Queen's Attorney General, and that I must go down to 

'"I am ready,' I replied ; ' I only ask you to allow 
me to say a Pater and Ave in the lower dungeon.' 

" This he allowed, and then we went together to the 
house of the Lieutenant, which was within the Tower 
walls. There I found five men, none of whom had before 
examined me except Wade, who was there for the purpose 
of accusing me on all points. 

" The Queen's Attorney General then took a sheet of 
paper, and began to write a solemn form of juridical 

The examination of Father Gerard on this occasion is 
preserved in the Public Record Office.' The Commis- 
sioners were Sir Richard Barkeley, Lieutenant of the Tower, 
Sir Edward Coke, then Attorney General, Thomas Fleming, 
a Privy Councillor, Sir Francis Bacon, afterwards Lord 
Chancellor, and William Wade or Waad, afterwards Justice 
Young's successor, and subsequently Lieutenant of the 
Tower, then Secretary to the Lords of the Council. 

" The examination of John Gerard, priest, taken this 
r4th day of April I597.> 

■ P,R.O., DomestU, Elizabeth, vol. cclxii. n. 123. 

Hosted by 


236 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" Being demanded whether he received any letters from 
the parts beyond the seas or no, confesseth that within 
these four or five days he received' from Antwerp (as 
he supposeth) letters inclosed and sealed up. But how 
many letters were inclosed therein he knoweth not, and 
saith that the said letters were directed to him by the 
name of Standish ; and being demanded from whom those 
letters were Eent,^ saith that he knoweth not from whom 
the same were sent, and denieth that he read them or that 
he knoweth the contents of the same, and at the first he 
said that he burnt them, but afterwards retracted that and 
confesseth that he sent them over to whom the same 
appertained, but 3 refuseth to declare to whom the same 
were delivered over, and refuseth also to declare who 
brought the same to him, or by whom he conveyed them 
over. He confesseth that he received within this year past 
other letters from the parts beyond the seas, and two or 
three of them he confesseth he did read, and saith that 
those letters contained matter concerning maintenance of 
scholars beyond sea, but refuseth to declare who sent those 
letters or by whom the same were brought, and saith that 
some of those letters were sent from St Omers ; and two 
or three other letters which he received from the parts 
beyond the seas he conveyed over to some other within 
this realm, but denieth that he knew the contents of those 
letters and refuseth to tell who sent or brought the same 
or to whom the same were conveyed, but saith that the 
same were sent over to him to whom the said last letters 
which he received were conveyed unto. And being de- 
manded whether he sent not those letters to Garnet his 
Superior, saith that he will name no name ; but saith that 
those letters came to him because he had more opportunity 
to receive them and to convey them over. And confesseth 
that the party to whom he sent those letters is a priest, 

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and being demanded how it is possible that he should 
know to whom the said last letters appertained, considering 
that he saith that he neither knoweth from whom the same 
were sent, nor knoweth the contents of the same, especially 
the said letters being directed to himself by the name oi 
Standish, saith that he' thinketh that some within this 
realm have greater' care and authority to provide for such 
scholars as be beyond sea than he, and saith that he sent 
those last letters as he had done other to that person, 
taking the same to contain no other matter but only con- 
cerning3 maintenance of scholars and such as be sent from 
hence for the like matters. And being demanded whether 
he opened not the outermost sealed of those last letters, 
confesseth that he did ; and being also demanded to whom 
the letters within inclosed were directed, saith that he 
remembereth nof^ the name, but saith that he thinketh it 
was to the said former person, and saith that there was 
nothing written within the outermost paper, and thinketh 
that there were two letters within that which he conveyed 
over. And saith that the letters within were not directed 
as the outermost was, but saith that he remembereth notS 
by what name the same were directed. 

"/ refuse not for any distoyal mind I protest as I look 
to be saved but for that I take these things not to Iiave con- 
cerned any matter of State with which t would not have 
dealt nor any other but matters of devotion as before. 

"And being demanded whether this subscription is 
his usual manner of writing,^ saith that he useth the same 
in his subscriptions to his examinations, and saith that 

' Thinketh that some suhsHluled fir knoweth who. 

' Care siibstiluled fir charge. 

3 Concerning scholars. Maintenance of, &c., interlined. 

' The name . . . person tW^/jnirf in ^/flce^to whom, 

s By what name substituted fir to whom. 

' " He had hoped ... to find out my handwriting, so thai some of the 
papers found in the houses of the Catholic might be proved to be mine. I 
foresaw this, and wrote in a feigned hand." This Father Gerard wrote of 
an examination when he was in the Counter (f. iSSf. 

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238 Life of Father John Gerard. 

the cause thereof is that he would bring no man to trouble 
and that he will not acknowledge his own hand, and saith 
that he never wrote any letter to any man in this hand, 
saving once to Mr. Topcliffe. And being demanded what 
was the cause that moved him to have escaped out of 
prison of late, saith that the cause was that he might have 
more opportunity to have won souls. And being demanded 
who procured the counterfeit keys for him by means 
whereof he should have escaped, refuseth to tell who it 
was, for that as he saith he will not discover anything 
against any other that may bring them to trouble. 

"JiiON Gerrard. 
" Examined by us, E.Y. Barkeley. 

Edw. Coke. 
Tho. Fflemynge. 
Fr. Bacon. 
W. Waad." 
Endorsed— " ]o. Jerrard." 

On the back of a playing card (the seven of spades) 
which Is attached to the original document, is written in 
Sir Edward Coke's handwriting : 

" Polewhele i 
Walpole I 
Pat Cullen 1 
Annias 31 
Willms 1 


Jarrard 1 " 

Polewhele, Patrick Cullen or O'Collun, Williams, and 
Squire were all executed for high treason, the latter on 
the accusation of having, at Father Walpole's instigation, 
poisoned the pommel of Elizabeth's saddle. Annias apos- 
tatized after two years' imprisonment. 

We now return to the impression that remained on 
Father Gerard's memory of this examination, when he 
wrote his Life some twenty years afterwards. 

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Torture. 239 

" They did not ask anything at that time about private 
CathoHcs, but only about matters of State, to which I 
answered as before in general terms, namely, that all such 
things were strictly forbidden to us of the Society ; that 
I had consequently never mixed myself up with political 
matters, sufficient proof whereof I said was to be found 
in the fact that though they had had me in custody for 
three years, and had constantly examined me, they had 
never been able to produce a single line of my writing, 
nor a single trustworthy witness, to show that I had ever 
injured the State in a single point. 

" They then inquired what letters I had lately received 
from our fathers abroad. Here it was I first divined the 
reason of my being transferred to the Tower. I answered, 
however, that if I had ever received any letters from 
abroad, they never had any connection with matters of 
State, but related solely to the money matters of certain 
Catholics who were living beyond seas. 

" ' Did not you,' said Wade, ' receive lately a packet 
of letters ; and did you not deliver them to such a one 
for Henry Garnet .'' ' 

" ' If I have received any such,' I answered, ' and 
delivered them as you say, I only did my duty. But I 
never received nor delivered any, but what related to the 
private money matters of certain religious or students, who 
are pursuing their studies beyond seas, as I have before 

" ' Well,' said they, ' where is he to be found to whom 
you delivered the letters, and how is he called .' ' 

" ' I do not know,' I answered, ' and if I did know, I 
neither could nor would tell you,' and then I alleged the 
usual reasons, 

"'You tell us,' said the Attorney General, 'that you 
do not wish to offend against the State. Tell us, then, 
where this Garnet is. For he is an enemy of the State, 
and you are bound to give information of such people.' 

.Hosted by 


240 Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

" ' He is no enemy of the State,' I replied, ' but, on 
the contrary, I am sure that he would be ready to lay 
down his life for the Queen and the State. However, I 
do not know where he is, and if I did know I would not 
tell you.' 

" ' But you shall tell us,' said they, ' before we leave 
this place.' 

" ' Please God,' said I. ' that shall never be.' 

" They then produced the warrant which they had for 
putting me to the torture, and gave it me to read ; for it 
is not allowed in this prison to put any one to the torture 
without express warrant I saw the document was duly 
signed, so I said, 'By the help of God I will never do what 
is against justice and against the Catholic faith. You 
have me in your power ; do what God permits you, for 
you certainly cannot go beyond.' 

" Then they began to entreat me not to force them 
to do what they were loth to do, and told me they were 
bound not to desist from putting me to the torture day 
after day, as long as my life lasted, until I gave the infor- 
mation they sought from me. 

" ' I trust in God's goodness,' I answered, 'that He will 
never allow me to do so base an act as to bring innocent 
persons to harm. Nor, indeed, do I fear what you can do 
to me, since all of us are in God's hands.' 

" Such was the purport of my replies, as far as I can 

"Then we proceeded to the place appointed for the 
torture. We went in a sort of solemn procession, the 
attendants preceding us with lighted candles, because the 
place was undei^round and very dark, especially about the 
entrance.' It was a place of immense extent, and in it 
were ranged divers sorts of racks, and other instruments 

■ It is said thai there is an underground passage from the Lieutenant's 
lodgings to the vaults of the While Tower, where it would •ppeac Father 

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Torture. 241 

of torture. Some of these they displayed before me, and 
told me I should have to taste them every one. Then 
again they asked me if I was willing to satisfy them on 
the points on which they had questioned me. ' It is out 
of my power to satisfy you,' I answered ; and throwing 
myself on my knees, I said a prayer or two. 

" Then they led me to a great upright beam or pillar 
of wood which was one of the supports of this vast crypt. 
At the summit of this column were fixed certain iron 
staples for supporting weights. Here they placed on my 
wrists gauntlets of iron, and ordered me to mount upon 
two or three wicker steps;' then raising my arms, they 
inserted an iron bar through the rings of the gauntlets 
and then through the staples In the pillar, putting a pin 
through the bar so that it could not slip. My arms being 
thus fixed above my head, they withdrew those wicker 
steps I spoke of, one by one, from beneath my feet, so 
that I hung by my hands and arms. The tips of my toes, 
however, still touched the ground, ^ so they dug away the 
ground beneath ; for they could not raise me higher, as 
they had suspended me from the topmost staples in the 

■' Thus hanging by my wrists, I began to pray, while 
those gentlemen standing round asked me again if I was 
willing to confess. I replied, ' I neither can nor will,' but 
so terrible a pain began to oppress me that I was scarce 
able to speak the words. The worst pain was in my 
breast and belly, my arms and hands. It seemed to me 
that all the blood in my body rushed up my arms into 
my hands ; and I was under the impression at the time 
that the blood actually burst forth from my fingers and 

■ Sdtpicula qusdam Juo vel Iria ex juncis facia. — MS. It is not easy to 
uniletstard enact Jy what these were. 

' Father Gerard's great statute could rot be more clearly indicated. This 
would of course involve a gjreater weight of body, and consequently greater 
severity in this mode of torture. " Erat enim," says Father More in his 
History, "pleno et procerocorpote." 


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242 Life of Father John Gerard. 

at the back of my hands. This was, however, a mistake ; 
the sensation was caused by the swelling of the flesh over 
the iron that bound it. 

" I felt now such intense pain (and the effect was pro- 
bably heightened by an interior temptation), that it seemed 
to me impossible to continue enduring it. It did not, 
however, go so far as to make mc feel any inclination or 
real disposition to give the information they wanted. For 
as the eyes of our merciful Lord had seen my imperfection, 
He did ' not suffer me to be tempted above what I was 
able, but with the temptation made also a way of escape.' 
Seeing me, therefore, in this agony of pain and this in- 
terior distress. His infinite mercy sent me this thought : 
'The very furthest and utmost they can do is to take 
away thy life ; and often hast thou desired to give thy 
.life for God : thou art in God's hands. Who knoweth well 
what thou sufferest, and is all-powerful to sustain thee.' 
With this thought our good God gave me also out of His 
immense bounty the grace to resign myself and offer 
myself utterly to His good pleasure, together with some 
hope and desire of dying for His sake. From that moment 
I felt no more trouble in my soul, and even the bodily 
pain seemed to be more bearable than before, although 
I doubt not that it really increased from the continued 
strain that was exercised on every part of my body. 

" Hereupon those gentlemen, seeing that I gave them 
no further answer, departed to the Lieutenant's house, 
and there they waited, sending now and then to know how 
things were going on in the crypt. There were left with 
me three or four strong men, to superintend my torture. 
My gaoler also remained, I fully believe out of kindness 
to me, and kept wiping away with a handkerchief the 
sweat that ran down from my face the whole time, as 
indeed it did from my whole body. So far, indeed, he 
did me a service ; but by his words he rather added to 
my distress, for he never stopped entreating and beseeching 

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Torture. 343 

me to have pity on myself, and tell these gentlemen what 
they wanted to know ; and so many human reasons did 
he allege, that I verily believed he was either instigated 
directly by the devil under pretence of affection for me, 
or had been left there purposely by the persecutors to 
influence me by his show of sympathy. In any case, 
these shafts of the enemy seemed to be spent before they 
reached me, for though annoying, they did me no real 
hurt, nor did they seem to touch my soul or move it in 
the least. I said, therefore, to him, ' I pray you to say 
no more on that point, for I am not minded to lose my 
soul for the sake of my body.' Yet I could not prevail 
with him to be silent. The others also who stood by said, 
'He will be a cripple all his life, if he lives through it; 
but he will have to be tortured daily till he confesses.' 
But I Icept praying in a low voice, and continually uttered 
the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. 

" I had hung in this way till after one of the clock 
as I think, when I fainted. How long I was in the faint 
I know not^pcrhaps not long ; for the men who stood 
by lifted me up, or replaced those wicker steps under my 
feet, until I came to myself; and immediately they heard 
me praying they let me down again. This they did over 
and over again when the faint came on, eight or nine 
times before five of the clock. Somewhat before five came 
Wade again, and drawing near, said, 'Will you yet obey 
the commands of the Queen and the Council ? ' 

"'No,' said I, "what you ask is unlawful, therefore I 
will never do it.' 

" ' At least, then,' said Wade, ' say that you would like 
to speak to Secretary Cecil.' 

" ' I have nothing to say to him,' I replied, ' more than 
I have said already ; and if I were to ask to speak to him, 
scandal would be caused, for people would imagine that I 
was yielding at length, and was willing to give informa- 

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244 Life of Father Jo/m Gerard. 

" Upon this Wade suddenly turned his back in a rage 
and departed, saying in a loud and angry tone, 'Hang 
there, then, till you rot !' 

" So he went away, and I think ail the Commissioners 
then left the Tower ; for at five of the clock the great bell 
of the Tower sounds, as a signal for all to leave who do 
not wish to be locked in all night. Soon after this they 
took me down from my cross, and though neither foot nor 
leg was injured, yet I could hardly stand. 

" I was helped back to my cell by the gaoler, and 
meeting on the way some of the prisoners who had the 
range of the Tower. I addressed the gaoler in their hearing, 
saying I wondered how those gentlemen could insist so 
on my telling them where Father Garnet was, since every 
one must acknowledge it to be a sin to betray an innocent 
man, a thing I would never do, though I should die for it. 
This I said out ioud, on purpose that the authorities might 
not have it in their power to publish a report about me, 
that I had made a confession, as they often did in other 
cases. I had also another reason, which was that word 
might reach Father Garnet (through these persons spread- 
ing abroad what they heard me say), that it was about 
him I was chiefly examined, in order that he might look 
to himself. I noticed that my gaoler was very unwilling 
I should speak thus before the others, but I did not stint 
for that. My gaoler appeared sincerely to compassionate 
my state, and when we reached my cell he laid me a fire, 
and brought me some food, as supper time had nearly 
come. I scarcely tasted anything, but laid myself on my 
bed, and remained quiet there till the next morning. 

" Early next morning, however, soon after the Tower 
gates were opened, my gaoler came up to the eel! and 
told me that Master Wade had arrived, and that I must 
go down to him. I went down, therefore, that time in a 
sort of cloak with wide sleeves, for my hands were so 
swollen that they would not have passed through ordinary 

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sleeves. When I had come to the Lieutenant's house, 
Wade addressed me thus : ' I am sent to you on the part 
of the Queen and of Master Secretary Cecil, the first of 
whom assures you on the word of a Sovereign, the other 
on his word of honour, that they know for certain that 
Garnet is in the habit of meddhng in political matters, 
and that he is an enemy of the State. Consequently, 
unless you mean to contradict them flatly, you ought to 
submit your judgment, and produce him.' 

'"They cannot possibly know this,' I replied, ' by their 
own experience and of certain knowledge, since they have 
no personal knowledge of the man. Now I have lived 
with him, and know him well, and I know him to be no 
such character as you say.' 

'"Well, then,' returned he, 'you will not acknowledge 
it, nor tell us what we ask .' ' 

" ' No, certainly not,' said I, ' I neither can nor will.' 

'"It would be better for you if you did,' he replied. 
And thereupon he summoned from the next room a gentle- 
man who had been there waiting, a tall and commanding 
figure, whom he called the Superintendent of Torture. 
I knew there was such an officer, but this man was not 
really in that charge, as I heard aftenvards, but was 
Master of the Artillery in the Tower. However, Wade 
called him by this name to strike the greater terror into 
me, and said to him, 'I deliver this man into your hands. 
You are to rack him twice to-day, and twice daily until 
such time as he chooses to confess.' The officer then took 
charge of me, and Wade departed. 

"Thereupon we descended with the same solemnity 
as before into the place appointed for torture, and again 
they put the gauntlets on the same part of my arms as 
before : indeed, they could not be put on in any other 
part, for the flesh had so risen on both sides that there 
were two hills of flesh with a valley between, and the 
gauntlets would not meet anywhere but in the valley. 

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246 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Here, then, were they put on, not without causing me 
much pain. Our good Lord, however, helped me, and I 
cheerfully offered Him my hands and my heart. So I 
was hung up again as I before described ; and in my 
hands I felt a great deal more pain than on the previous 
day, but not so much in my breast and belly, perhaps 
because this day I had eaten nothing. 

"While thus hanging I prayed, sometimes silently, 
sometimes aloud, recommending myself to our Lord Jesus 
and His Blessed Mother. I hung much longer this time 
without fainting, but at length I fainted so thoroughly 
that they could not bring me to, and they thought that 
I either was dead or soon would be. So they called the 
Lieutenant, but how long he was there I know not, nor 
how long I remained in the faint. When I came round, 
however, I found myself no longer hanging by my hands, 
but supported sitting on a bench, with many people round 
me, who had opened my teeth with some iron instrument 
and were pouring warm water down my throat. Now 
when the Lieutenant saw I could speak, he said, 'Do you 
not see how much better it is for you to yield to the wishes 
of the Queen than to lose your life this way .'' 

" By God's help I answered him with more spirit than 
I had ever before felt : ' No, certainly I do not see it I 
would rather die a thousand times than do what they 
require of me.' 

" ' You will not, then .' ' he repeated. 

"'No, indeed I will not,' I answered, 'while a breath 
remains in my body,' 

" ' Well, then,' said he, and he seemed to say it sorrow- 
fully, as if reluctant to carry out his orders, ' we must hang 
you up again now, and after dinner too.' 

"•Let us go, then, in the name of God," I said; 'I 
have but one life, and if I had more I would offer thera 
all for this cause.' And with this I attempted to rise in 
order to go to the pillar, but they were obliged to support 

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Torture. 247 

me, as I was very weak in body from the torture. And 
if there was any strength in my soul, it was the gift of 
God, and given, I am convinced, because I was a member 
of the Society, though a most unworthy one. I was sus- 
pended, therefore, a third time, and hung there in very 
great pain of body, but not without great consolation of 
sou!, which seemed to me to arise from the prospect of 
dying. Whether it was from a true love of suffering for 
Christ, or from a sort of selfish desire to be with Christ, 
God knows best ; but I certainly thought that I should 
die, and felt great joy in committing myself to the will 
and good pleasure of my God, and contemning entirely 
the will of men. Oh, that God would grant me always 
to have that same spirit (though I doubt not that it wanted 
much of true perfection in His eyes), for a longer life 
renriains to me than I then thought, and He granted me 
a reprieve to prepare myself better for His holy presence. 

" After a while the Lieutenant, seeing that he made 
no way with me by continuing the torture, or because the 
dinner hour was near at hand, or perhaps through a natural 
feeling of compassion, ordered me to be taken down. I 
think 1 hung not quite an hour this third time. I am 
rather inclined to think that the Lieutenant released me 
from compassion ; for, some time after my escape, a 
gentleman of quality told me he had it from Sir Richard 
Barkeley himself (who was this very Lieutenant of whom 
I speak), that he had of his own accord resigned the office 
he held, because he would no longer be an instrument in 
torturing innocent men so cruelly. And in fact he gave 
up the post after holding it but three or four months, and 
another Knight was appointed in his stead, in whose time 
it was that I made my escape. 

" So I was brought back to my room by my gaoler, 
who seemed to have his eyes full of tears, and he assured 
me that his wife had been weeping and praying for me 
the whole time, though I had never seen the good woman 

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248 Life of Father John Gerard. 

in all my Hfe. Then he brought me some food, of which 
I could eat but little, and that little he was obliged to cut 
for me and put into my mouth. I could not hold a knife 
in my hands for many days after, much less now, when 
I was not even able to move my fingers, nor help myself 
in anything, so that he was obliged to do everything for 
me. However, by order of the authorities, he took away 
my knife, scissors, and razors, lest I should kill myself. I 
believe : for they always do this in the Tower as long as 
the prisoner is under warrant for torture. I expected, 
therefore, daily to be sent for again to the torture-chamber, 
according to order; but our merciful God, while to other 
stronger champions, such as Father Walpole and Father 
Southwell, He gave a sharp struggle that they might over- 
come, gave His weak soldier but a short trial, that he 
might not be overcome. They, indeed, being perfected 
in a short time fulfilled a long space ; but I, unworthy 
of so great a good, was left to run out my days, and so 
supply for my defects by washing my soul with my tears, 
since I deserved not to wash it with my blood. God so 
ordained it, and His Holy Will be done." 

Father Garnet in his letters mentions Father Gerard's 
torture for the first time when writing on the 23rd of April 
1597 to Father Persons at Rome.' "John Gerard hath 
been sore tortured in the Tower : it is thought it was for 
some letters directed to him out of Spain." This was 
prompt and accurate news as far as it went ; and between 
this date and the next some details had reached Father 
Garnet, for on the 7th of May, 1597, he wrote^ to the 
General (we translate from the Italian) : " Of John Gerard 
I have already written to you where he is. He hatii been 
twice hanged up by the hands, with great cruelty of others, 
and not less suffering of his own. The inquisitors here 

' Stonyhursl MSS., Father Grene's CoUectan. P. vol. ii. f. 547. 
' Ibid., Angl. A. vol. ii. n. a; ; Cdlectan. P. vol. ii. f. 604. 

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Torture. 249 

say that he is very obstinate, and that he has a great 
alliance with God or the devil, as they cannot draw the 
least word out of his mouth, except that in torment he 
cries 'Jesus.' They took hitn lately to the rack, and the 
torturers and examiners were there ready ; but he suddenly, 
when he entered the place, knelt down and with a loud 
voice prayed to our Lord that, as He had given grace and 
strength to some of His saints to bear with Christian 
patience being torn to pieces by horses for His love, so 
He would be pleased to give him grace and courage, rather 
to be dragged into a thousand pieces than to say anything 
that might injure any person or the Divine glory. And 
so they left him without tormenting him, seeing him so 
resolved." On the loth of June (in the copy it is Jan., 
evidently a mistake) Father Garnet writes:' "I wrote 
unto you heretofore of the remove of Mr. Gerard to the 
Tower : he hath been thrice hanged up by the hands, 
every time until he was almost dead, and that in one day 
twice. The cause was (as I now understand perfectly) for 
to tell where his Superior was, and by whom he had sent 
him letters which were delivered him from Father Persons, 
and he was discovered by one of his fellow-prisoners. 
The Earl of Essex saith he must needs honour him for 
his constancy." Again, a letter from Father Garnet to 
the General, in Latin, dated the nth of June, 1597, runs 
thus :2 "I have written to you more than once of our 
Mr. John Gerard, that he has been thrice tortured, but 
that he hath borne all with invincible courage. We have 
also lately heard for certain that the Ear! of Essex praised 
his constancy, declaring that he could not help honouring 
and admiring the man. A Secretary of the Royal Council 
denies that the Queen wishes to have him executed. To 
John this will be a great trouble." 

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"I REMAINED therefore in my cell, spending my time 
principally in prayer. And now again I made the Spiritual 
Exercises, as I had done at the beginning of my imprison- 
ment, giving four or five hours a day to meditation for a 
whole month. I had a breviary with me, so that I was 
able to say my Office ; and every day I said a dry mass, 
{i.e., such as is said by those who are practising mass 
before the priesthood), and that with great reverence and 
desire of communicating, especially at that part where I 
should have communicated if the Sacrifice had been real. 
And these practices consoled me in my tribulation. 

"At the end of three weeks, as far as I can remember, 
I was able to move my fingers, and help myself a little, 
and even hold a knife. So when I had finished my 
retreat I asked leave to have some books, but they 
only allowed me a bible, which I obtained from my 
fnends in my former prison. I sent to them for some 
money, by means of which I saw that I should be 
able to enhst the sympathies of my gaoler, and induce 
him to allow me things, and even to bring me some books. 
My friends sent me by him all that I asked for. I got 
my gaoler to buy some large oranges, a fruit of which 
he was very fond. But besides gratifying him with a 
present of them, I meditated making another use of them 
in time. 

" I now began to exercise my hands a little after dinner. 

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The Tovjer of London. 25 i 

Supper I never took, though it was allowed : indeed, there 
was no stint of food in the prison, all being furnished at 
the Queen's expense; for there were given me daily six 
small rolls of very good bread. There are different 
scales of diet fixed in the prison according to the rank 
of the prisoner ; the religious state indeed they take 
no account of, but only human rank, thus making 
most of what ought to be esteemed the least Well, 
the exercise which I gave my hands was to cut the 
peels of these oranges into the form of crosses, and sew 
them two and two together. I made many of these 
crosses, and many rosaries also strung on silken cord. 
Then I asked my gaoler if he would carry some of these 
crosses and rosaries to my friends in my old prison. He, 
seeing nothing in this to compromise him, readily under- 
took to do so. In the meantime I put by some of the 
orange-juice in a small jug. I was now in want of a pen, 
but I dared not openly ask for one : nay, even if I had 
asked and obtained my request, I could at this time 
scarcely have written, or but very badly ; for though I could 
hold a pen, yet I could hardly feel that I had anything in 
my fingers. The sense of touch was not recovered for 
five months, and even then not fully, for I was never 
without a certain numbness in my hands up to the time 
of my escape, which was more than six months after. 
So I begged for a quill to make myself a tooth- 
pick, which he readily brought me. I made this into a 
pen fit for writing, then cutting off a short piece of the 
pointed end, I fixed it on a small stick. With the rest 
of the quill I made a tooth-pick, so long that nothing 
appeared to have been cut off, and this I afterwards 
showed my gaoler. Then I begged for some paper to 
wrap up my rosaries and crosses, and obtained his leave 
also to write a line or two with pencil on the paper, asking 
my friends to pray for me. All this he allowed, not 
suspecting that he was carrying anything but what he 

Hosted by 


252 Life of FatJier Jolm Gerard. 

knew. But I had managed to write on the paper with 
some orange-juice, telling my friends to write baclt to me 
m the same way, but sparingly at first ; aslcing them also 
to give the bearer a little money and promise him some 
as often as he should bring any crosses or rosaries from 
me ,„th a few words of my writing to assure them that I 
was well. 

"When they receired the paper and the rosaries 
knomng that I should if possible have written something 
w,th orange-juice, a, I used to do with them, they imme- 
diately retired to a private room and held the paper to 
a fire. Thns they read all I had written, and wrote back 
to me m the same way, sending me some comfits or dried 
sweetmeats wrapped up in the paper on which they had 
wntten. We continued this method of communication 
for about half a year; but we soon proceeded with much 
greater confidence when we found that the man never 
faded to deliver our missives faithfully For full three 
months however he had no idea that he was conveying 
letters to and fro. But after three months I began ,„ 
ask h,m to allow me to write with a pencil at greater 
ength, which he permitted. I always gave him these 
letters open, that he might see what I wrote i and I wrote 
nothing but spiritual matters that he could see, but on the 
blank part of the paper I had written with orange-juice 
directions and particular advice for my different friends 
about which he knew nothing. ' 

"As it happened indeed, I need not have been so 
eircumspeet ; for the man. as I found out after some time 
eonid not read He pretended, however, that he was able' 
and used to stand and lock over my shoulder while l' 
read to h,m what I had written with' pencil. At length 
It occurred to me that possibly he could not read ■ so 
m order to make the trial, while he was looking over the 
paper I read it altogether in a difl-erent way from what 
I had written it. After doing this on two or three 

Hosted by 


The Tower of London. 253 

occasions without his taking any notice, I said openly to 
him with a smile, that he need not look over my shoulder 
any more. He acknowledged indeed that he could not 
read, but said that he took great pleasure in hearing what 
I read to him. After this he let me write what I would, 
and carried everything as faithfully as ever. He even 
provided me with ink, and carried closed letters to and 
fro between my friends and me. For seeing that I had 
to do with very few, and those discreet and trustworthy 
people, and thinking that neither I nor they were likely 
to betray him, he did just what we asked him for a 
consideration, for he always received a stipulated payment. 
He begged me, however, not to require him to go so often 
to the Clink prison, lest suspicion should arise from these 
frequent visits, which might cause harm not only to him 
but to me : he proposed therefore that some friend of 
mine should meet him near the Tower and deliver the 
letters to him. But I was loth to risk the safety of any 
one by putting him thus in the man's power. It made 
no difference to those already in custody ; they could 
without much additional danger hold correspondence with 
me, and send me anything for my support by way of alms. 
Besides I knew that my messenger would not be likely 
to speak of the letter he carried, as this would be as 
dangerous for himself as for those to whom he carried 

" Nay, even if he had wished he could not have done 
much injury either to me or my friends, because I took 
good care never to name any of them in my letters. But 
before I was in prison and after, I invariably used pseu- 
donyms which were understood by those to whom I wrote: 
thus, I called one 'brother,' another 'son,' another 'nephew,' 
or ' friend,' and so of their wives, calling this one ' sister," 
that 'niece,' or 'daughter.' In this way no one not in 
the secret could possibly tell whom I meant, even if the 
letters had been intercepted, which they never were. I 

Hosted by 


2 54 Life of Father John Gerard. 

may add that even if the letters had been betrayed and 
read, they could never have been made further use of by 
the enemy, in allowing them to be carried to their desti- 
nation to lure the correspondents on till they should 
compromise themselves, as was sometimes done. For I 
never wrote now with lemon-juice, as I did once in the 
Chnk ; which letter was betrayed to the persecutor Wade, 
as I before related. The reason of my doing so then was 
because that was a kind of circular letter which had to be 
read in one place and then carried to another. Now 
lemon-juice has this property, that what is written in it 
can be read in water quite as well as by fire, and when the 
paper is dried the writing disappears again till it is steeped 
afresh, or again held to the fire. But anything written 
with orange-juice is at once washed out by water and 
cannot be read at all in that way; and if held to the fire, 
though the characters are thus made to appear and can be 
read, they will not disappear; so that a letter of this sort 
once read can never be delivered to any one as if it had 
not been read. The party will sec at once that it has 
been read, and will certainly refuse and disown it if it 
should contain anything dangerous. It was in this way 
I knew that my letters always reached my friends and that 
theirs reached me in safety. And so our correspondence 
continued,— I obtaining sure information of al! my friends, 
and they receiving at my hands the consolation they 

" In order however that matters might go on still more 
securely, I managed through some of my friends that 
John Lilly's release should be purchased : and from that 
time I always got him to bring to my gaoler eveiything 
that reached me from the outside. It was through his 
means too a little later that I escaped from the Tower, 
although nothing certainly was farther from my thoughts 
when I thus secured his services : all I had in view was 
to be able to increase my correspondence with safety. 

Hosted by 


The Tower of London. 255 

This went on for about four months, and after the first 
month I gave a good time to study by means of books 
secretly procured. But at this time an event occurred 
which caused me great anxiety. 

" Master Francis Page, of whom I have before spoken, 
was now living with my former host [Mr. Wiseman], who 
had been released from prison. After my removal to 
the Tower, he got to learn in what part of it I was 
confined : and out of respect for me used to come daily 
to a spot from whence he could see my window, in order 
to get the chance some day of seeing me there. At last 
it so happened that going one day to the window (it was 
a warm day in summer), I noticed a gentleman at some 
distance pull off his hat as if to me ; then he walked to 
and fro, and frequently stopped and made pretence of 
arranging his hair or doing something about his head, in 
order to have the opportunity of doffing his hat to me 
without attracting the attention of others. At last I 
recognized him by the clothes that he was accustomed 
to wear, and made him a sign of recognition, and giving 
him my blessing I withdrew at once from the window, 
lest others should see me and have suspicion of him. 
But the good man was not content with this ; daily did he 
come for my blessing, and stopped some time walking to 
and fro, and ever as he turned he doffed his hat, though 
I frequently made signals to him not to do so. At 
length he was noticed doing this, and one day as I was 
looking I saw him to my great grief seized and led away. 
He was brought to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who 
examined him about me and my friends. But he denied 
everything, and said that he simply walked there for his 
amusement, it being a fine open space close to the River 
Thames. So they kept him a prisoner^ for some days, 
and meanwhile by inquiry found that he was living with 

Hosted by 


2S6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

my former host. This increased their suspicion that he 
had been sent there to give me some sign. But as he 
constantly denied everything, they at last had recourse 
to me, and sent for me to be examined. Now as I was 
going to the examination Master Page was walking up 
and down with my gaoler in the hall, through which I 
was tal^en to the chamber where the authorities awaited 
me. Immediately I was introduced the examiners said to 
me; 'There is a young man here named Francis Page 
who says he knows you and desires to speak with you.' 
'"He can do so if he wi.shes,' I replied; 'but who is 
this Francis Page? I know no such person.' 

Not know him > ' said they, ' he at any rate knows 
you so well that he can recognize you at a distance, and 
has come daily to salute you.' 

"I however maintained I knew no such man. So 
when they found they could twist nothing out of me 
either by wiles or threats, they sent me back. But as I 
passed again through the hall where Master Page was 
with the others, I looked round from one to another, and 
said with a loud voice, ' Is there any one here of the name 
of Francis Page, who says he knows me well, and has 
often come before my window to see me ? Which of ail 
these is he ? I know no such person, and I wonder that 
any one should be willing to injure himself by saying 
such things.' 

"All this while the gaoler was trying to prevent my 
speaking, but was unable. I said this not because I had 
any idea that he had acknowledged that he knew me, but 
for fear they might afterwards tell him of me what they 
had told me of him. And so it turned out. For they 
had told him already that I had acknowledged I knew 
him, and they had only sent for me then that he might 
see me go in, intending to tell him I had confirmed all 
I said before. But now they could not so impose on 
him. For when he was summoned, he immediately told 

Hosted by 


The Tower of London. 257 

them what I had said publicly in the hall as I passed 
through. The men in their disappointment stormed 
against the gaoler and me, but being thus baffled could 
not carry out their deception. 

"A little later they released Master Page for money, 
who soon crossed the sea, and after going through his 
studies in Belgium was made priest' Thence he returned 
afterwards to England and remained mostly in London, 
where he was much beloved, and useful to many souls. 
One of his penitents was that Mistress Line whose mar- 
tyrdom I have above related. In her house he was once 
taken as I said, but that time he escaped. A little after 
he obtained his desire of being admitted into the Society, 
but before he could be sent over to Belgium for his 
noviceship, he was again taken, and being tried like gold 
in the furnace, and accepted as the victim of a holocaust, 
he washed his robe in the blood of the Lamb, and is 
now in the possession of his reward. And he sees me 
now no longer detained in the Tower while he is walking 
by the water of the Thames, but rather he beholds me 
on the waters still tos.sed by various winds and storms 
while he is secure of his own eternal happiness, and 
solicitous as I hope for mine. Before all this however he 
used to say that he was much encouraged and cheered 
by hearing what I said as I passed through the hall, as it 
enabled him to detect and avoid the snares of the enemy. 

" During the time I was detained in the Tower, no 
one was allowed to visit me, so that I could afford no 
help to souls by my words; by letter however I did what 
I could with those to whom I could venture to trust the 
secret of how they might correspond with me. Once 
however after John Lilly's release, as he was walking in 
London streets, two ladies, mother and daughter, accosted 
him, and begged him if it was by any means possible to 

■ In Ihe OidLnation list in the First Douay Diary there is the entry. 
), Aprilis 1°, Ftanciscus Pageus Londinen. M." 

Hosted by 


258 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

'bring them where Ihey could see me. He knowing the 
extreme danger of such an attempt endeavoured to dis- 
suade them, but they gave him no peace till he promised 
to open the matter to the gaoler, and try to get him to 
admit them, as if they were relations of his. Gained over 
by large promises the man consented ; the ladies had 
also made a present of a new gown to his wife. They 
therefore dressing themselves as simple London citizens, 
the fashion of whose garments is very different from that 
of ladies of quality, came with John Lilly, under pretence 
of visiting the gaoler's wife, and seeing the lions that are 
kept in the Tower, and the other animals there which 
the curious are in the habit of coming to see. After 
they had seen all the sights, the gaoler led them within 
the walls of the Tower, and when he found a good oppor- 
tunity introduced them into my room, exposing himself 
to a great danger for a small gain. When they saw me 
they could not restrain themselves from running and 
kissing my feet, and even strove with one anothe°r who 
should Brst kiss them. For my part I could not deny 
them what they had bought so dear, and then begged for 
so earnestly, but I only allowed them to offer this homage 
to me as to the prisoner of Christ, not as to the sinner 
that I am. We conversed a little, then leaving with mc 
what they had brought for my use, they returned in safety 
much consoled, for they thought they should never sec 
my face again, inasmuch as they had heard in the city 
that I was to be brought to trial and executed. 

"Once also Father Garnet sent me similar happy 
news, warning me in a letter full of consolation to prcp.are 
myself for death. And indeed I cannot deny that I 
rejoiced at the things that were said to me ; but my 
great unworthiness prevented me from going into the 
House of the Lord. In fact the good Father, though 
he knew it not, was to obtain this mercy before me; 
and God grant that I may be able to follow him even 

Hosted by 


Tfie Tower of London. 259 

at a distance to the cross which he so much loved and 
honoured. God gave hitn the desire of his heart; for it 
was on the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross that 
he found Him whom his soul loved. On this same feast 
of the Holy Cross and anniversary day of this holy 
Father's martyrdom. I received, by his intercession I fully 
believe, two great favours of which I will speak further 
at the close of this narration ; to which close indeed it 
behoves me to hasten, for I am conscious that I have 
been more diffuse than such small matters warranted. 

"What Father Garnet warned mc of by letter the 
enemy threatened also by words and acts about that time. 
For those who had come before with authority to put me 
to the torture, now came again, but with another object, 
viz., to take my formal examination in preparation for 
my trial. So the Queen's Attorney-General questioned 
me on all points, and wrote everything down in that order 
which he meant to observe in prosecuting me at the assizes, 
as he told me. He asked me therefore about my priest- 
hood, and about my coming to England as a priest and 
a Jesuit, and inquired whether I had dealt with any to 
reconcile them to the Pope, and draw them away from 
the faith and religious profession which was approved in 
England. AH these things I freely confessed that I had 
done ; answers which furnished quite sufficient matter for 
my condemnation according to their laws. When they 
asked, however, with whom I had communicated in poli- 
tical matters, I replied that I had never meddled with 
such things. But they urged the point, and said it was 
impossible that I, who so much desired the conversion of 
England, should not have tried these means also, as being 
very well adapted to the end. To this I replied, as far as 
I recollect, in the following way : 

"'I will tell you my mind candidly in this matter, 
and about the State, in order that you may have no doubt 
about my intent, nor question me anj' more on the sub- 

Hosted by 


26o Life of Father John Gerard. 

ject ; and in what I say, lo ! before God and His holy 
angels I He not, nor do I add aught to the true feeling of 
my heart. I wish, indeed, that the whole of England 
should be converted to the Catholic and Roman faith, that 
the Queen too should be converted and all the Privy 
Council, yourselves also, and all the magistrates of the 
realm ; but so that the Queen and you all without a single 
exception should continue to hold the same powers and 
dignities that you do at present, and that not a single 
hair of your head should perish, that so you may be happy 
both in this life and the next. Do not think, however, 
that I desire this conversion for my own sake, in order to 
regain my liberty and follow my vocation in freedom. 
No; I call God to witness that I would gladly consent to 
be hanged to-morrow, if all this could be brought about 
by that means. This is my mind and my desire, conse- 
quently I am no enemy of the Queen's nor of yours, nor 
have I ever been so.' 

" Hereupon Mr. Attorney kept silence for a time, and 
then he began afresh to ask me what Cathohcs I knew ; 
did I know such and such ? I answered, 'I do not knoj 
them.' And I added the usual reasons why I should still 
make the same answer even if I did know them, showing 
that this was not telling a falsehood. Upon this he 
digressed to the question of equivocation,' and began to 
inveigh against Father Southwell, because on his trial he 
denied that he knew the woman who was brought forward 

' Our readers cannot fail to remember Ihc passage in Shakspeare's Macbdh 
which IS most evidently aimed against the Catholic martyrs. The castle porter 
Act. 11. Sc. 3, imagines himself porter al Hell gate, and soliloquizes : " Knock, 
knock ! who s there ? . . . Faith, here's an eguwBcator, that could swear in 
both the scales agamst either scale ; who committed friason enaugk for Goifi 
SBkr. yet could not equivocate lo Heaven." If these words were Shakspeare's 
they would be sufficient by themselves to settle the question of his Catho- 
licity. No Catholic could speak thus of those who died for their faith The 
Cambridge Editors (Claretidon Press Series) reject the passage, and they quote 
Colendge s criticism : ■' This low soliloquy of the porter, and his few speeches 
afterwards, I believe to have been written for the mob by some other hand." 

Hosted by 


The Tower of London. 261 

to accuse him.' She swore that he had come to her 
father's house and was received there as a priest ; this 
he positively denied, though he had been taken in that 
house and was found in a hiding-place, having been be- 
trayed by this wretched woman. A dutiful daughter truly, 
who thus betrayed to death both her spiritual and her 
natural father! Christ our Lord, however, came not to 
send peace, but a sword to divide between the good and 
the bad ; and in this case He divided the bad daughter 
from the good parents. Good Father Southwell, then, 
though he marvelled at the impudence of this miserable 
wench, yet denied what she asserted, and gave good 
reasons for his denial, well knowing and thoroughly 
proving that it was not lawful for him to do otherwise, 
lest he should add to the injury of those who were already 
suffering for the faith, and for charity shown to him. 
Taking this occasion, therefore, he showed very learnedly 
that it was lawful in some cases, nay, even necessary, 
perhaps, to use equivocation ; which doctrine he estab- 
hshed and confirmed by strong arguments and copious 
authorities, drawn as well from Holy Scripture as from 
the writings of the Doctors of the Church. 

"The Attorney-General inveighed much against this, 
and tried to make out that this was to foster lying, and 
so destroy all reliable communications between men, and 
therefore all bonds of society. I, 'on the other hand, main- 
tained that this was not falsehood, nor supposed an inten- 
tion of deceiving, which is necessary to constitute a He, 
but merely a keeping back of the truth, and that where 
one is not bound to declare it: consequently there is no 
deception, because nothing is refused which the other has 
a right to claim. I showed, moreover, that our doctrine 
did in no way involve a destruction of the bonds of society, 

■ This was the wrelched Anne Bellamy, a youoE Catholic gentlewoman, 
who when in prison was ruined by Topcliffe and married by him to Nichoiag 
Jones, ihe underlteepcr of the Gatehouse. Troubles, Second Series, pp. 51—64- 

Hosted by 


262 Life of Father John Gerard. 

because it is never allowed to use equivocation in making 
■ contracts, since all are bound to give their neighbour his 
due, and in making of contracts truth is due to the party- 
contracting. It should be remarked also, I said, that it 
is not allowed to use equivocation in ordinary conversation 
to the detriment of plain truth and Christian simplicity, 
much less in matters properly falling under the cognizance 
of civil authority,' since it is not lawful to deny even a 
capital crime if the accused is questioned juridically. He 
asked me. therefore, what I considered a Juridical ques- 
tioning. I answered that the questioners must be really 
superiors and judges in the matter of examination ; then, 
the matter itself must be some crime hurtful to the 
common weal, in order that it may come under their 
jurisdiction ; for sins merely internal were reserved for 
God's judgment. Again, there must be some reliable 
testimony previously brought against the accused ; thus, 
it is the custom in England that all who are put on their 
trial, when first asked by the judge if ihey are guilty or 
not, answer 'Not guilty.' before any witness is brought 
against them, or any verdict found by the jury ; and 
though they answer the same way, whether really guilty 
or not, yet no one accuses them of lying. Therefore I 
laid down this general principle, that no one is allowed 
to use equivocation except in the case when something 
is asked him either actually or virtually, which the ques- 
tioner has no right to ask. and the declaration of whicli 
will turn to his own hurt, if he answers according to the 
intention of the questioner. I showed that this had been 
our Lords practice and that of the saints. I showed that 
it was the practice of all prudent men, and would certainly 
be followed by my interrogators themselves in case they 

' In Eubotnala Eubematione Kcipubtica.-,— ./I/5. There is clearly some 
blunder here. Probably we oughl lo read "subonlinala" ; yet even so, the 
phrase is not very mldligible. We have judged of the sense intended, by the 

Hosted by 


The Tower of London. 263 

were asked about some secret sin, for example, or were 
asked by robbers where their money was hid. 

" They asked me, therefore, when our Lord ever made 
use of equivocation ; to which I repHed, 'When He told 
His Apostles that no one knew the Day of Judgment, 
not even the Son of Man : and again when He said that 
He was not going up to the Festival at Jerusalem, and 
yet He went; yea, and He knew that He should go when 
He said He would not' 

"Wade here interrupted me, saying, 'Christ really 
did not know the Day of Judgment, as Son of Man.' 

" ' It cannot be,' said I, ' that the Word of God Incar- 
nate, and with a human nature hypos tatically united to 
God, should be subject to ignorance ; nor that He Who 
was appointed Judge by God the Father should be 
ignorant of those facts which belonged necessarily to His 
office ; nor that He should be of infinite wisdom, and yet 
not know what intimately concerned Himself.' In fact 
these heretics do not practically admit what the Apostle 
teaches (though they boast of following his doctrines), 
viz., that all the fulness of the Divinity resided corporally 
in Christ, and that in Him were all the treasures of the . 
wisdom and knowledge of God. It did not, however, occur 
to me at the moment to adduce this passage of St. Paul. 

" They made no reply to my arguments, but the 
Attorney-General wrote everything down, and said he 
should use it against me at my trial in a short time. But 
he did not keep his word. For I was not worthy to enter 
under God's roof, where nothing defiled can enter. I have 
therefore still to be purified by a prolonged sojourn in 
exile, and so at length, if God please, be saved as by fire, 

" This my last examination was in Trinity Term, as 
they call it. They have four terms in the year, during 
which many come up to London to have their causes tried, 
for these are times that the Law Courts are open. It is 
during these terms, on account of the great confluence of 

Hosted by 


264 Life of Father John Gerard. 

people, that they bring those priests to trial whom they 
have determined to prosecute ; and probably this was 
what they proposed to do in my case— but man proposes 
and God disposes, and He had disposed otherwise. When 
this time, therefore, had passed away, there was no longer 
any probability that they would proceed against me 
publicly. I turned my attention consequently to study 
in this time of enforced leisure, as I thought they had 
now determined only to prevent my communication with 
others, and that this was the reason they had transferred 
me to my present prison as being more strict and more 

Midsummer day came, when the Lieutenant of the 
Tower as usual sent in his quarterly bill to the Exchequer 
"for the diets and charges of certain prisoners in his 
custody from the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lady 
the Virgin 1597, until the Feast of St. John the Baptist 
then next following," This paper,' which bears the signa- 
tures of the Lords of the Privy Council, gives us the date 
of Father Gerard's transfer to the Tower. "Item, for the 
diet and charges of John Gerratt gent, from the izth day 
of April 1597 until the feast of St. John Baptist next 
ensuing, being ro weeks and a half, the sum of 6/. ijj. ^, 

"Item, for his keeper during the same time 
at 6j. %d. the week . , . .3/ (^^ g^/ 

"Item, for fuel and lights during the same 
time at 6s. Zd. the week . . . .3/. gj-, 8^_ 

"■Item, for his washing during the same 
time ■ . . . . is" 

It would have been interesting to see how the Lieu- 
tenant expressed himself when he sent in his Michaelmas 
bill, but unfortunately the paper is lost. By that time 
Father Gerard had ceased to be one of the prisoners in 
his custody. 

■ P.R.O., Pell Office, Exchequer Papers, Tower Bills: parcel i, H72— 
1605. "^ ■" 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XX. 265 


It seems desirable to treat at greater length than would be 
possible in a simple footnote the question of the equivocation 
which was practised under certain circumstances by F-ither 
Gerald, as he has himselt related in various pirts of his Nar- 
rative On examination we shall set that his practice was not 
merely in accordance with the rules of morality, but was 
absolutely inevitible if hi. Hould a\oid a great wrong to 
others, and that so hx from Lading us to distrust his veracity, 
on the contrary, it is a proof to us of the clearness witb which 
he kept before his mmd the obligations of the law of truthful 
ness between man and man, and the hdelity of his practice to 
that law 

It IS quite true that he, and many others, considered them 
selves justified, when their o«n hves or those of innocent persons 
were at stake, in the use of assertions that were simple falsehoods 
in the ordinary sense of the terms employed Ihcie they called 
equivocations, and we find no trace in the period ot which we 
are writing ol the modern sense of the word, that is, of a true 
expression which js reallj beside the point, though it is so 
emploved that it is verj imliktly to be seen to be so bv the 
person to whom it is addressed, who thus 13 said rather to be 
suffered to deceive himsell than to be deceived Practicallj the 
distinction is hard to draw, and it has the diEadvantif,e of 
seeming to tnoie the morahtj of the expression depend on the 
(juickness and readiness of the person in danger, who may be 
able to think of phrases containing a real ambiguity but which yet 
would throw the hearers off the right scent 

According to modern feeling, Father Gerard would have been 
quite justified in examining the trees and hedges in search of a 
falcon he had not lost, and inquiring of all he met whether they 
had heard the tinkling of the bird's bells, although it was to 
make them think that he had lost a falcon,' or in other words, to 
' Supia, p. 38. 

Hosted by 


266 Life of Father John Gerard. 

deceive them but by the s.ame modern feehn^ he would be 
held to be guilty of a lie when he said thit he was the 
servant of -i lord m a neinhbourmt; coiinlj, although he mit,ht 
have worn ihat lords 1 verj as a disgu se il he could live 
obtaiied it which would have been i more effectu-il deception 
than any words 

Agim, accord ng to modern judgment John Lily would 
be held guilty ol a le when he s^ld of Gerard s books ■»nd 
manuscripls The> arc mine but quite guiltless when 
with the same intention of making tl e mag stntcs bei eve 
him to be a pnesl nhen he wis not he siid I do not 
say I am a priest that is for jou to prove \et the latter 
expression wis far more 1 kely to deceive than tht. former 
It was more like what a priest under the c rcumstanccs would 
have said Present fechi g would condemn h m of a he for 
sa>ing simpl) that the book were his when it would acquit 
him if he had thought of us ng fir more deceptive express ons, 

I compromise mjscif b> sajmg 

such ; 

whose they are." 

The only difference between modern morality and that on 
which Father Gerard acted was that now-a-days men say, " Have 
recourse to evasions." Then men said, "Say what you like, it is 
their fault if they think it true." It is evident that of the two 
courses of proceeding, the plain-spoken old way is the least open 
to abuse. No one certainly would have recourse to it excepting 
from a well-weighed plea of a sorrowful necessity. Whereas, on 
the other hand, evasions are not startling, and the conscience 
may lay but little stress on the presence or absence of 
justifying circumstances. For it is most necessary to bear 
seriously in mind that all Catholic divines then held, and now 
hold, that to make use of equivocation, excepting under those 
peculiar circumstances that make it lawful, is in itself a sin, and 
thus no escape from the sin of lying. So Father Garnet plainly 
said when on his trial,' " As I say it is never lawful to equivocate 
in matters of faith, so also in matters of human conversation, it 
may not be used proraiscually or at our pleasure, as in matters of 
contract, in matters of testimony, or before a competent judge, or 

■ Infra, p. 324. = Condition of Catholk$, p. 244. 

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" Great English authors, Jeremy Taylor, Milton, Paley, Johnson, 
men of very distinct schools of thought, distinctly say that under 
cettain extreme circumstances it is allowable to tell a lie. Taylor 
says : ' To tell a lie for charity, to save a man's life, the life of a 
friend, of a husband, of a prince, of a useful and a public person, 
hath not only been done at all times, but commended by great 
and wise and good men. Who would not save his father's life, at 
the charge of a harmless lie, from persecutors or tyrants?' 
Again, Milton says : ' What man in his senses would deny that 
there are those whom we have the best ground for considering 
that we ought to deceive, as boys, madmen, the sick, the intoxi- 
cated, enemies, men in error, thieves? I would ask, by which 
of the Commandments is lying forbidden ? Vou will say, by the 
ninth. If then my lie does not injure my neighbour, certainly it 
is not forbidden by this Commandment.' Paley says : ' There are 
falsehoods which are not lies, that is, which are not criminal,' 
Johnson: 'The general rule is, that truth should never be 
violated ; there must, however, be some exceptions. If, for 
instance, a murderer should ask you which way a man is 
gone.' " ' 

This language would not have been used by Cathohcs. 
With them the word " lie " signified a simple falsehood ; and an 
"equivocation" was a false expression used under such circum- 
stances that if they to whom it was addressed were deceived by it, 

' Apologia pro Vila sua, by John Henry Newman, D,D. London, 1864, p. 
418. The reader's allention is earnestly called to Cardinal Newman's treatment 
of this subject, both at the p.nge quot^, and in the Appendix, p, 72. To the 
Protestant authors quoted above may be added Mr. Froude (Histoty of England, 
vol. ii. ch. vi. p. 57, note). "It seems obvious thai a falsehood of this sort 
is different in kind from what we commonly mean by unveracity, and has no 
affinity wilh it. . . , Rabab of Jericho did the same thing which Dalaber did" 
[a Piotestanl, who gave false answers and swore to them, to save Garret, his 
fellow] "and on that very ground was placed in the catalogue of saints." 

Hosted by 


268 Life of Father John Gerard. 

it was their own fault. They had then no right to the truth, and 
even m some cases it would have been a sin to tell them the 
truth. In substance, however, though not in form, the doctrine of 
Gerard, Southwell, and Garnet, was the same as that of Taylor, 
Milton, and Johnson. 

But to confine ourselves to the practice of Father Gerard, 
this doctrine is not necessary for his defence, and if his 
conduct be fairly examined, he will be held, even from the 
modern point of view, to have done no wrong. Protestant 
moralists, as we have seen, permit men under certain circum- 
stances to tell a lie with intent to deceive. And Catholic 
moralists permit under such circumstances assertions which 
would lead the hearers to deceive themselves by neglecting to 
advert to the limit of the speaker's obligation to tell the truth. 
But with regard to Father Gerard's legal interrogations, 
we may waive the question whether they are right or wrong 
in their morality, for we see clearly that he so expressed 
himself as to show that his words were not intended to be 

The first nstanct. that occurs n Father Gerard s Life is that 
when, after h s apprel ension on be ng questioned he declared 
that he was quite unacqua nled Hith the family of the Wisemans, 
and those who were exam mng him betrayed their informer 
by crj ng out What lies >uu tell Did you not say so 
and-so before such a lady as you reid >our servants letter? 
Then he adds But I still denied it gntn^ them good reasons 
hm<ev€r^hy ezen tf tt had been true I eouH and might to have 
denied tt 

Another time' he was confronted with three servants of Lord 
Henry Seymour who aiouched that he had d ned with their 
mistress and her sister the L'^dy Mary Perc> that it was in Lent, 
and they told how their mistress ate meat wl ile Ladj Mary and 
Father Gerard ate noti in^ but ftsh \oung flung this charge m 
my teeth with an a r of t. umph as though I could not help 
acknowledging it and thereby disclosing some of my acquaint 
ances. I answered that I did not know the men whom he had 
brought up 

■ Supra, p. 163. ■' Supra, p. 195. 

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Note to Chapter XX. 269 

" ' But we know you,' said ihey, ' to be the same that was at 
such a place on such a day.' 

'"You wrong your mistress,' said I, 'in saying so. I, however, 
will not so wTong her.' 

" ' What a barefaced fellow you are ! ' exclaimed Young. 
"'Doubtless,' I answered, 'were these men's statements true. 
As for me, I cannot in conscience speak positively in the matter, for 
reasons that I have often alleged; let them look to the truth and 
justice of what they say.' " 

A third instance Is the interview ' between Father Gerard and 
the widow Wiseman, in the presence of the Dean of Westminster, 
Topcliffe, and others. " They wanted to see if she recognized 
me. So when I came into the room where they brought me, 
I found her already there. When she saw me coming in with the 
gaolers, she almost jumped for joy ; but she controlled herself, 
and said to them : 'Is that the person you spoke of? I do not 
know him ; but he looks hke a priest.' 

" Upon this she made me a very low reverence, and I bowed 
in return. Then they asked me if I did not recognize her? 

" I answered : ' I do not recognize her. At the same time, 
you know this is my usual way of answering, and I will never 
mention any places, or give the names of any persons that are 
known to me (which this lady, however, is not); because to do 
so, as I have told you before, would be contrary both to justice 
and charity.' " 

Lastly, when examined by the Attorney-General as to what 
Catholics he knew : "Did I know such and such? I answered: 
'I do not know them.' And I added the usual reasons why I 
should still make the same answer even if f did know them,'' slmving 
that this was not telling a falsehood." 

In every one of these instances words are carefuily introduced 
to show that the denials in question were uttered not with tlie 
intent of decei\mg the hearers (though even thit according to 
the grave Protestant authorities recently quoted would have been 
lawful), nor of allowmg them to deceive themsches if they did 
not choose to advert to the circumstances in which the denials 

' Supra, p. 218. 

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270 Life of Father John Gerard. 

were made (as Catholic divines would have permitted);' but 
avowedly in order that they might not be available as legal 
evidence against the speaker or his friends. 

To Father Gerard's defence of himself it may be as well to add 
that of Father Southwell,^ who was assailed by Sir Edward Coke. 

" The Father would have spoken further on this point [obe- 
dience to the laws] had they not attacked him on another, 
objecting to him a statement of Anne Bellamy's, who deposed 
that Father Robert had instructed her, that if asked by searchers 
or persecutors if there was a priest in the bouse, she could say 
' No,' though she knew there was one ; nay, that if asked on oath, 

' Sir Waller Scott's words have been oflen quoted, and (hey are fair 
specimens of what an honourable man considers lawful. As Ihey were no 
hasty and unconsiderca expressions, Ihey are deserving of insertion in this 
place. Lockhart calls them " a style of equivoque which could never sfriously 
be misunderstood." To John Murray Scott wrote: " I give you heartily joy 
of the success of the Tales, althoufih I do not claim that paternal interest in 
them which my friends do me the credit to assign me. I assure you I have 
never read a volume of them until they were printed, and can only join with 
the rest of the world in applauding the true and striking [wrtraits which they 
present of old Scottish manners. / do not expect imfilkil yeliancc (a he placed 
en my disavanxii, baausc I knmo very jodl that he wio is disposed nol to own 
a luori must necessarily deny il, and that Plheni'ise his secret -.oould be at the 
meicy of all -Jiho choose to ask the question, since silence in such a case must 
always pass for eanseni, or ralher asseiil. Bui I have a mode of convincing 
you that I am perfectly serious in my denial— pretty similar to that by which 
Solomon distinguished the fictitious from the real mother— and that is, by 
reviewing the work, which I take to be an operation equal to that of quartering 
the child." And, in a letter written two years later, he says ; " I own I did 

mystify Mrs. a little about the report you mention ; and I am glad to hear 

the finesse succeeded. She came up to me with a great overflow of gratitude 
for the delight and pleasure, and so forth, which she owed to me on account of 
these books. Now, as she knew very well that I had never owned myself the 
author, this was VlcA polite politeness, and she had no right to force me up into 
a comer and compel me to tell her a word more than I chose, upon a subject 
which concerned no one but myself— and I have no notion of being pumped by 
any old downger Lady of Session, male or female. So I gave in dilatory 
defence*, under protestation to add and eik ; for I trust, in learning a new 
slang, you have not forgot the old. In plain word.s, I denied the charge, and 
as she insisted to know who else could write these novels, I su^esled Adam 
Fergusson as a person having all the information and capacity necessary for 
that purpose. But the inference that he nwj the author was of her own 
deducing ; and thus ended her attempt, notwithstanding her having primed the 
pump with a good dose of flattery." Lockhart's Memoirs of Sir Waller Scott, 
1844. pp. 338. 389- 

" We translate partly from Bartoli, Iiighilterra, lib. v. c. 9, and partly 
from More, Hist. Prev. lib. v. c. 39. 

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Note to Chapter XX. 271 

she could swear there was not. No sooner was this brought out 
than the judges and officers of the court showed themselves 
highly scandalized, and were for stopping their ears:' as if, for- 
sooth, the seeking for Catholic priests to put them to a traitor's 
death, or force them to apostatize, were a proceeding so clearly 
and so indubitably just, as to make it as clearly and indubitably 
unjust to hide them from such an ordeal, or to deny them to 
their pursuers : nor, indeed, would the harm be confined to the 
cruel execution of the priest, but with hira the whole of the 
family in whose house he was found would be liable to the same 
death of traitors. Coke, therefore, the Attorney-General, made 
the most he could of this matter, insisting that such a pernicious 
doctrine tended to destroy all truth, and all reliance of men 
in each other's veracity, and if allowed to prevail, would upset 
all good government. Topcliffe also inveighed against it so 
exorbitantly, that Judge Popham silenced him. Father Robert 
then, as soon as he was allowed to reply, explained briefSy what 
he had said to the witness, whose statement was not altogether 
exact, and addressing the Judge, said : 

" ' If you will have the patience to listen to me, I shall be 
able to prove to you from the Holy Scriptures, from the Fathers, 
from theologians, and from reason, that in case a demand is 
made against justice and with the view of doing grievous harm 
to an innocent person, to give an answer not according to the 
intent of the questioner is no offence against either the divine 
law or the natural law. Nay, I will prove that this doctrine in 
no wise threatens the good government of states and kingdoms : 
and that, where the other necessary conditions of an oath are 
present, there is nothing wrong in confirming such an answer in 
that manner. Now I ask you, Mr. Attorney, Supposing the 
King of France {which God forbid) were to invade this country 
successfully, and having obtained full possession of this city, were 
to make search for her Majesty the Queen, whom you knew to 
be hidden in a secret apartment of the palace : supposing, 

■ Falher Bartoli here asks us to contrast the pious horror expressed by the 
officials at Father Southwell's doctrine with the fact reJalecl by Father Gerard 
[supra, p. 19+) of (he magistrate Young swearing on the Scriptures to what 
he knew to be false. 

Hosted by 


272 Life of Father John Gerard. 

moreover thit you were seized in the pahre ind brought before 
the Xmg ind that ht. asked \ou where the Quetn was and 
would receive no profession of ignorance from }0u except on 
01th whit would \ou doP To pilter or hesitate is to show 
that she IS there to refuse to bwear is equivalent to a betrayal 
^Vhat would jou answer' I suppose forsooth \ou would point 
out the ] lare 1 \ et who of all who now hear me would not crj 
out upon )ou for a traitor? You would then if )5i had any 
sense bwtar at onte either tl at jou knew not where she was 
or that \Ott knew she was not m tl e pahce m order thai >our 
knowledge might not become instrumental to her harm Of th s 
kind in fact was the answer of Christ in the Cospel when He 
said that concerning the Da> of Judgment no one had any 
knowledire neither the angels in Heaven nor the Son that is 
according to the interpretation of the Fathers such knowledge 
that He could communicate to others Now this is. the con 
dition of Catholics in England they are m peril of their liberty, 
theit tortimes and the r h\es if the\ should have a pr est in their 
houses How can it be forbidden them to escape these evils by 
an equivocal answer and to confirm this answer if neeessaq b> 
an oath ' For in such a case three things must be remembered 
first that a wrong is Utne i nless jou 'iwear secondly that no 
one IS obliged to answer eversbodj s questions about everything 
thirdly that an oath is always lawful if made with truth with 
judgment and with justice all which are found m this, case 

He went on to exempl f) his positioi by supposed queries of 
robbers and highwaymen but he was interrupted b> abuse 

Father Garnet has defended himself at sufficient length in 
his speech on his trial but as he there refers to his previous 
answers we have thought it best to give insertion here to an 
autograph paper of his preserved in the Public Record Offic&J 

' This last consideration applies, of course, not lo the general question of 
equivocalion (for in that case it would involve a pelitio prituipii), but to the 
sub-question whether supposing a simple equivocation lawful [i.e., allowing it 
to be no violation of veracity in some cases), it could ever be lawful to add 
to it (he confirmation of an oath. Father Southwell maintains reasonably, 
that whatever it is lawful (o say, it is lawful also to swear (o, provided the 
other conditions for an oath are present. 

" CandUion of Catkolks, p. 244, 3 Cunfovida- Fhl Book, n. 2I7a. 

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Nnf^ /-, ri,r,f,fs-^ vv 

bring in another matter. For the divines hold that in some cases 
a man may he bound to conceal something in his confession, 
because of some great harm which may ensue of it. And as he 
may do so in his life, so may he at his death, if the danger of the 
harm continue still. 

" The case being propounded, supposing that I knew Gerard 
acquainted with this treason, and having been often demanded 
thereof, I still denying it, by way of equivocation, whether at the 
hour of my death, either natural or by course of justice, I may by- 
equivocation seek to clear him again, 

" I answer, that in case I be not urged I may not, but I must 

leave the matter in case in which it stand ; but if I be urged, then 

■ If this 

Hosted by 


274 Life of Father John Gerard. 

I ™y clear 1™ by equivocation, wherea, „,he„i,e „,y silence 
.onld be accounted an accsalion. But all this 1 undent.nd 
when ,he case i, ,„ch that I am bound to conceal Gerard's 
treason, .a, ,f 1 had heard it in confession. For this is a general 
rule, that m cases of true and manifest treason,- a man is bound 
voluntartl, ,n otter and .ery truth by no way to e,oi,ocate, if he 
know It not by »,y of confession, in „hich case also he is bound 
to seek all lawful „ays to discover, lalro sigUh. 

"''''"""'■ " Henrv Camstt, 

"All the Doctore that hold equivocation to be lawful do 
matntatn that it is not lawful when the e.amin.te is bound to 
ell the simple truth, that is, according to the civil l.,v, when 
there „ a competent judge, and the ca.tse subject to hi, jnris- 
diclion, and sufficient proofs. But in case of treason a man is 
bound to confess of another without any witness at .all yea 
voluntarily to disclose it ; not so of himself 

■• And how far the common law bindeth in cases that are not 
treason a man to confess of himself, I know not. In the civil 
law, it is sufficient to have „mipk„ai pnialmim, that is, ,„„„„ 
tesim omni ex^eptiom majorem, or imnifesia iiidkiti. 

" Our law I take to be more mild, and that a man may put all 
to wttnesses without confessing, except in cases of treason For 
according to our ^-^ . 'to,, pirvaHtur j,,di,mm Imidc vd ,„smdi 

justice. So thai the laws acoLnsl rccusatils. npam.t rp^ 7 ■ 
coaf^iaa, a^,„, „.„ „U, HterSaSLX ^ i/.rri.r." 

1.1 Ih. la, .g.,a„ p,i.„, „„| i„„ n„ t<"«- So 

..w, ..d ,!,„., h., ar. p., ,„ j.„H j ,„,„ „„j„ J ,S1' ,™ 
because they die for tlic preaching of trae religion marlyrs 

tr.J.ftfvf"' "a'" ' ""■°' " "■ '■»•»". I --er that, ha, i..,„c 
eason wnica IS made treason by any just law, and that is no treason at all 
wha:b IS made treason by an unjust law." 

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Note to Chapter XX. 275 

as in the civil law, where is required reus confitens. But generally, 
when a man is bound to confess, there is no place of equivocation. 
And when he is not bound to confess according to the laws of 
each country, then may he equivocate," 

In the last paper Tather Garna 13 not sptaking of equivo- 
cation used in defence of an innocent person, but ot what we 
may call the persistent plea of "Not guilty," and he there draws 
an interesting distinction between the Roman ci\i! law and our 
own, which he calls "moie mild," in that it professed to regard 
a prisoner as innocent till he is proved to be guilty Happily 
this is our practice no«, as well as our profession, and our 
quotations are needed to enable us to lorni judgments ot conduct 
in times that have happily passed anaj 

The prisoner's usual pita of " Not guilty is the real parallel 
to the denials of Father Oerard and others in similar positions. 
Being called on to plead ' Guilty or not guilty,' is the only form 
in which the qiieMon is now put to a person accused But in 
those days the question was put o\er and o\er again, and in every 
variety of form. To deny was reallv to plead "Not guilty," and 
if this was lawful once, it was lawful whenever they were forced 
to repeat it. Not only was it a capital oflcnce to be a priest 
within the realm, but it was high treason to be reconciled to the 
Church, or to be absolved by a priest or to harbour or comfort 
one. Ihus the interrogations addressed to prisoners were always 
intended to make them criminate themselves or others, that is, in 
the one case to cause them to plead guilty, so that they might be 
condenintd to death on their own confessions ; or, in the other 
case, to force them to become Queen's evidence, and be accessory 
to the infliction upon others of the extremest penalties enacted by 
an unjust law. 

But with regard to Father Gerard's general truthfulness, and 
in particular with regard to the trustworthiness of his evidence 
respecting the Gunpowder Plot, even if tjie lawfulness of his 
denials under examination were not admitted, all that we should 
be concerned to show is, that untrue statements, made by a man 
under circumstances which, rightly or wrongly, he considers to 
justify him in making them, furnish no presumption whatever 

Hosted by 


Life of Fallier John Gerard. 


.ha, „„fe „,h„ circu„>,„„s, *„,i„g ,„ hi, ^^^ 

such ]„s„Bca»„,h„ word cannot be m.stcd I, i, „ ..idem 

.nsunce of the „„i„ „„ .h. .„,p,i„ ^ ""»' 

s . ^ic »t not rather to conclude that, under far 
I.S. pre.»,e he will as careftlly confine hi„self , ,he 1,„ 
.mposed by h,. conscience? Clearly ,h„e is nothing in k," 
Geratd's ptacttce ™de, „.n,inatio„ to cause us ,„ hesitate ," 

a d tn add, ton we ate sure that no one ,11, ,ise fton, the peru.a 
of he exculpato,,. ,e„e,s which will be found in a l.,e, ch 
-.hou. a mil conviction of his innocence and ttnthf.lne^s ' ' 

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"I THUS endeavoured to conform myself to the decrees of 
God and the tyranny of man ; when lo .' on the last day 
of July [i 597], the anniversary of our holy Father Ignatius' 
departure from this life, while I was In meditation, and 
was entertaining a vehement desire of an opportunity for 
saying Mass, it came into my head that this really might 
be accomplished in the cell of a certain Catholic gentleman 
[John Arden], which lay opposite mine on the other side of 
a small garden within the Tower. This gentleman' had 

■ We find ftom an extract of one of Father Garnet's letters in the 
.Slonyhnrst MSS. that this gentleman's name was Arden. " Ocl. 8, 1597. 
Upon Si. Francis' day at night brolte out of the Tower one Arden, and 
Mr. Gerard the Jesuit : there is yet no great inquiry after him." Father 
Grene's Collrctan. P. vol. H. f. 548. Father Bartoli also and Father Mote 
mention Arden as the name of Father Gerard's companion. In the Lieutenant's 
Midsummer bill to the Exchequer we have the name of John Ardente as thai 
of one ofFather Gerard's fellow prisoners. In August, r588, "John Ardent 
gent." was reported by the Lieutenant as then "prisoner one year six months, 
condemned of treason," committed Jan. 28, I58|., and maintained at the 
l^ueen's charge, hut a note is added to his name in Lord Bu^hley's 
hand, "lo the King's Bench." P.R.O., Domestic, EUzabtli, vol. ccxv. 
n. 19. 

There was also a Francis Arden, who was committed to the Tower, accord- 
ing to Rishton, on Lady Day, 1584. A paper entitled " Vifhat course is meet to' 
lie held in the causes of certain prisoners remaining in the Tower," dated 
May 27, 1585, says of him, "Francis Arden, indicted of treason, but the 
matter not full enough against him, to be removed lo her Majesty's Bench." 
Ibid. vol. clxxviii. n. 74. Later on- he was tried, condemned, and 
retransferred to the Tower, as we learn ftom the term of his imprison- 
ment in a subsequent list of prisoners in the Tower, Oct. 24, 15S9, in 
which he is mentioned as " prisoner two years and three quarters, condemned 

Hosted by 


278 Life of Father John Gerard. 

been detained ten years in prison. Fie had been indeed 
condemned to death, but the sentence was not carried 
out. He was in the habit of going up daily on the leads 
of the building in which he was confined, which he 
was allowed to use as a place of exercise ; here he 
would salute me, and wait for my blessing on bended 

"On examining this idea of mine more at leisure, 
I concluded that the matter was feasible, if I could 
prevail on my gaoler to allow me to visit this gentleman. 
For he had a wife who had obtained permission to visit 
him at fixed times, and bring him changes of linen and 
other little comforts in a basket ; and as this had now 
gone on many years, the officers had come to be not so 
particular in examining the basket as they were at first. 
I hoped therefore that there would be a possibility of 
introducing gradually by means of this lady all things 
necessary for the celebration of Mass, which my friends 
would supply. Resolving to make the trial, I made a 
sign to the gentleman to attend to what I was going to 
indicate to him. I then took pen and paper and made as 
if I was writing somewhat ; then, after holding the paper 

oftteiison," and in till: maigiii " KefLTml to lici Majesty." Ibid.\>A. ccssvii. 
11. 37- 

Francis Anleii ivas proliably a relation of liilworil Anlcn, who iva.'i Iianjicii 
Dec. 23 (Stowe says Dec. 20), 15S3, "protesting Ilia innoctnce of every 
chaise, and ilcclaring that his <inly crime was the pcoression of the Catholic 
religion." Kishlon's Diary iii Ihr Ttrn-cr. In a curious pnper {Domrslic, 
EHaibetk, vol. ccix. 11. 3). tlatecl March I, 158.^, Kobert Ardcrn of Bnrnyctc 
pves inrurmation to the Earl of I.eiccslec against "Mr. Ardem of Colesford, 
a gentleman of Oxfoitlshitc," in which paper mention is made of a nian thai 
"was ArJein's keeper that is prisoner in the Tower." Robert Arden was in 
the Matshalsea with Father Gerard in lSiS4, "sent in the lotb of Dec., 1582." 
/iW. vol. duK. n. n. 

Eleven years Iwforc Father Gerard's escape \i'ilh John Ardeii, there was a 
rumour current thai one of the Aniens had liroken prison. Sit Aniias Poulet 
wrote from Fotheringay, where poor Queen Maiy was then within a few days 
of her death, to Mr. Secretary Davison, Jan. 27, 158 J. " There is a gical 
alarm in the county and in counties adjoining, upon the rumour of the escape 
of one Arden a traitor." Poulet's LeUer-boolit, p. 353, 

Hosted by 


Escape from the Tower. 279 

to the fire, I made a show of reading it, and lastly I 
wrapped up one of my crosses in it, and made a sign of 
sending it over to him. I dare not speak to him across 
the garden, as what I said would easily have been heard 
by others. Then I began treating with my gaoler to 
convey a cross or a rosary for me to my fellow-prisoner, 
for the same man had charge of both of us, as wc were 
near neighbours. At first he refused, saying that he durst 
not venture, as he had had no proof of the other prisoner's 
fidelity in keeping a secret. 'For if,' said he, 'the gentle- 
man's wife were to talk of this, and it should become 
known I had done such a thing, it would be all over with 
me.' I reassured him, however, and convinced him that 
such a result was not likely, and, as I added a little bribe, 
I prevailed upon him as usual to gratify mc. He took 
my letter, and the other received what I sent; but he 
wrote me nothing back as I had requested him to do. 
Next morning, when he made his appearance on the 
leads, he thanked me by signs, and showed the cross I 
had sent him. 

"After three days, as I got no answer from him, I 
began to suspect the real reason, viz., that he had not read 
my letter. So I called his attention again, and went 
through the whole process in greater detail. Thu.s, I 
took an orange and squeezed the juice into a little cup,, 
then I took a pen and wrote with the orange-juice, and 
holding the paper some time before the fire, that the 
writing might be visible, I perused it before him, trying 
to make him understand that this was what he should do 
with my next paper. This time he fathomed my meaning, 
and thus read the next letter I sent him. He soon sent 
me a reply, saying that he thought the first time I wanted 
him to burn the paper, as I had written a few visible words, 
on it with pencil ; therefore he had done so. To my 
proposal moreover he answered, that the thing could bo 
done, if my gaoler would allow me to visit him in the 

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28o Life of Father Jolm Gerard. 

evening and remain with him the next day; and that his 
Wife would bring all the furniture that should be given her 
for the purpose. 

"As a next step I sounded the gaoler about allowing 
me to visit my fellow-prisoner, and proposed he should 
let me go just once and dine with him, and that he the 
gaoler, should have his share in the feast. He refused 
absolutely, and showed great fear of the possibility of my seen as I crossed the garden, or lest the Lieutenant 
m.ght take it into his head to pay me a visit that very 
day. But as he was never in the habit of visiting me I 
argued that it was very improbable that the thing shou'ld 
happen as he feared ; after this, the golden arguments I 
adduced proved completely successful, and he acceded to 
my request. So I fixed on the Nativity of the Blessed 
Virgin i and in the meanwhile I told my neighbour to let 
his wife call at such a place in London, having previously 
sent word to John Lilly what he should give her to bring. 
I told him, moreover, to send a pyx and a number of small 
hosts, that I might be able to reserve the Blessed Sacra- 
ment. He provided all I told him, and the good lady got 
them safely to her husband's cell. So on the appointed 
day 1 went with my gaoler, and stayed with my 
fellow-prisoner that night and the next day; but the 
gaoler exacted a promise that not a word of this should 
be said to the gentleman's wife. The next morning, then, 
I said Mass, to my great consolation ; and that Confessor 
of Christ communicated, after having been so many years 
deprived of that favour. In this Mass I consecrated also 
two and twenty particles, which I reserved in the pyx with 
a corporal ; these I took back with me to my cell, and for 
some days renewed the Divine banquet with ever-fresh 
delight and consolation. 

"Now while we were together that day, I— though 
nothing was less in my thoughts when I came over than 
any idea of escape (for I sought only our true deliverer 

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Escape from the Tower. 281 

Jesus Christ, as He was prefigured in the little ash-baked 
loaf of Elias, that I might with more strength and courage 
travel the rest of my way even to the mount of God) — 
seeing how close this part of the Tower was to the moat 
by which it was surrounded, began to think with myself 
that it were a possible thing for a man to descend by a 
rope from the top of the building to the other side of the 
moat. I asked my companion therefore what he thought 
about it, and whether it seemed possible to him. 

"'Certainly,' said he, 'it could be done, if a man had 
some true and real friends to assist him, who would not 
shrink from exposing themselves to danger to rescue one 
they loved.' 

"'There is no want of such friends,' I replied, 'if only 
the thing is feasible, and worth trying.' 

" ' For my part,' said he, ' I should only be too glad to 
make the attempt ; since it would be far better for me to 
live even in hiding, where I could enjoy the sacraments 
and the company of good men, than to spend my life here 
in solitude between four walls.' 

"'Well then,' I answered, 'let us commend the matter 
to God in prayer; in the meanwhile I will write to my 
Superior, and what he thinks best we will do.' 

" I returned that night to my cell, and wrote a letter to 
Father Garnet by John Lilly, putting all the circumstances 
before him. He answered me that the thing should be 
attempted by all means, if I thought it could be done 
without danger to my life in the descent. 

" Upon this I wrote to my former host [Mr, Wiseman], 
telling him that an escape in this way could be managed, 
but that the matter must be communicated to as few as 
possible, lest it should' get noised about and stopped. 
I appointed moreover John Lilly and Richard Fulwood, 
, the latter of whom was at that time serving Father 
Garnet, if they were willing to expose themselves to the 
peril, to come on such a night to the outer bank of the 

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282 Life of Father John Gerard. 

moat opposite the little tower in which my friend was 
kept, and near tlie place where Master Page was appre- 
hended, as I described before. They were to bring with 
them a rope, one end of which tliey were to tic to a stake, 
then we from the leads on the top of the tower would 
throw over to them a ball of lead with a stout string 
attached, such as men use for sewing up bales of goods. 
This they would find in the dark by the noise it would 
make in falling, and would attach the string to the free 
end of their rope, so that we who retained one end of 
the string would thus be able to pull the rope up. 
I ordered, moreover, that they should have on their 
breasts a white paper or handkerchief, that we might 
recognize them as friends before throwing our strin'r, and 
that they should come provided with a boat in which we 
might quickly make our escape, 

"When these arrangements had been made and a 
night fixed, yet my host wished that a less hazardous 
attempt should first be made, namely, by trying whether 
my gaoler could be bribed to let me out, which he could 
easily do by permitting a disguise. John Lilly therefore 
offered him on the part of a friend of mine a thousand 
florins [loo/.] on the spot, and a hundred florins [lo/.] 
yearly for his life, if he would agree to favour my escape. 
The man would not listen to anything of the kind, saying 
he should have to live an outcast if he did so, and should 
be sure to be hanged if ever he was caught Nothing there- 
fore could be done wilh him in this line. So we went 
on with our preparations according to our previous plan ; 
and the matter was commended to God with many 
prayers by all those to whom the secret was committed. 
One gentleman indeed, heir to a large estate, made a vow 
to fast once a week during his life if I escaped safely. 
When the appointed night came, I prevailed on the gaoler 
by entreaties and bribes to allow me to visit my friend. 
So he locked us both in together with bolts and bars of 

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Escape from the Tower. 283 

iron as usual, and departed. But as he had also locked 
the inside door that led to the roof, we had to loosen the 
stone, into which the bolt shot, with our knives, or other- 
wise wc could not get out. This we succeeded in doing 
at length, and mounted the leads softly and without a 
light, for a sentinel was placed in the garden every night, 
so that we durst not even speak to each other but in a 
very low whisper. 

"About midnight we saw the boat coming with our 
friends, namely, John Lilly, Richard Fulwood, and another 
who had been my gaoler in the former prison, through 
whom they procured the boat, and who steered the boat 
himself. They neared the shore ; but just as they were 
about to land, some one came out of one of the poor 
cottages thereabouts to do somewhat, and seeing their 
boat making for the shore, hailed them, taking them 
for fishermen. The man indeed returned to his bed 
without suspecting anything, but our boatmen durst not 
venture to land till they thought the man had gone to 
sleep again. They paddled about so long however that 
the time slipped away, and it became impossible to 
accomplish anything that night ; so they returned by 
London Bridge. But the tide was now flowing so 
.strongly that their boat was forced against some piles 
there fixed to break the force of the water, so that they 
could neither get on nor get back. Meanwhile the tide 
was still rising, and now came so violently on the boat 
that it seemed as if it would be upset at every wave. 
Being in these straits they commended themselves to 
God by prayers, and called for help from men by their 

" All this while we on the top of the tower heard them 
shouting, and saw men coming out on the bank of the 
river with candles, running up and getting into their 
boats to rescue those in danger. Many boats approached 
them but none durst go up to them, fearing the force 

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284 Life of Father John Gerard. 

of the current.' So they stood there in a sort of circle 
round them, spectators of their peri], but not daring- to 
assist. I recognized Richard Fulwood's voice in the 
shouts, and said, 'I know it is our friends who arc in 
danger' My companion indeed did not believe I could 
distinguish any one's voice at that great distance ;2 but 
I knew it well, and groaned inwardly to think that such 
devoted men were in peril of their lives for my sake. 
We prayed fervently therefore for them, for we saw that 
they were not yet saved, though many had gone to assist 
them. Then we saw a light let down from the bridge.^ 
and a sort of basket attached to a rope, by which they 
might be drawn up, if they could reach it. This it seems 
they were not able to do. But God had regard to the 
peril of his servants, and at last there came a strong sea 
boat with six sailors, who worked bravely, and bringing 
their boat up to the one in danger took out Lilly and 
Fulwood. Immediately they had got out, the boat they 
had left capsized before the third could be rescued, as 
if it had only kept right for the sake of the two who 
were Catholics. However by God's mercy the one who 
was thrown into the river caught a rope that was let down 
from the bridge, and was so dragged up and saved. So 
they were all rescued, and got back to their homes. 

"On the following day [October 4, 1597] John Lilly 
wrote me by the gaoler as usual. What could I expect 
him to say but this: — 'We see, and have proved it by 
our peril, that it is not God's will that wc should proceed 
any further in this business.' But I found him saying 
just the contrary. For he began his letter as follows : — 

■ The number of piers in old London Bridge was so la^e, and oflered so 
great an obstruction to the water, that it was always a service of danger to pass 
under the arches while the tide was running : and often the river formed a 
regular cataract at this part. 

= The distance would be something over half a mile. 

3 Our readers will remember that at this time each side of the bridge was 
lined with houses, which looked sheet down into the rivet. 

Hosted by 


Escape from the Tower. 285 

'It was not the will of God that we should accomplish 
our desire last night, still He rescued us from a great 
danger, that we might succeed better the next time. 
What is put off is not cut off:^ so we mean to come 
again to-night with God's help.' 

" My companion on seeing such constancy joined with 
such strong and at the same time pious affection, was 
greatly consoled and did not doubt success. But I had 
great ado to obtain leave from the gaoler to remain 
another night out of my cell ; and had misgivings that 
he would discover the loosening of the stone when he 
locked the door again. He however remarked nothing 
of it. 

"In the meantime I had written three letters to be 
left behind. One was to the gaoler, justifying myself for 
taking this step without a word to him ; I told him I 
was but exercising my right, since I was detained in 
prison without any crime, and added that I would always 
remember him in my prayers, if I could not help him in 
any other way. I wrote this letter with the hope that 
if the man were taken into custody for my escape it might 
help to show that he was not to blame. The second 
letter was to the Lieutenant, in which I still further ex- 
onerated the gaoler, protesting before God that he knew 
nothing whatever about my escape, which was of course 
perfectly true, and that he certainly would not have 
allowed it if he had suspected anything. This I con- 
firmed by relating the very tempting offer which had 
been made him and which he had refused. As to his 
having allowed me to go to another prisoner's cell, I 
said I had extorted it from him with the greatest diffi- 
culty by repeated importunities, and therefore it would 
not be right that he should suffer death for it. The third 
letter was to the Lords of the Council, in which I stated 
first the causes which moved me to the recovery of my , 

3 Quod differtiir «oa au/atur. MS, 

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286 Life of Father John Gerard. 

liberty of which I had been unjustly deprived. It was 
not so much the mere love of freedom, I said, as the love 
of souls which were daily perishing in England that led 
me to attempt the escape, in order that I might assist 
in bringing them back from sin and heresy. As for 
matters of State, as they had hitherto found me averse 
to meddling with them, so they might be sure that I 
should continue the same. Besides this, I exonerated the 
Lieutenant and gaoler from all consent to or connivance 
at my escape, assuring them that I had recovered my 
liberty entirely by my own and ray friends' exertions. 
I prepared another letter also, v^-hich would be taken next 
morning to my gaoler, not however by John Lilly, but 
by another, as I shall narrate presently. 

"At the proper hour we mounted again on the leads. 
The boat arrived and put to shore without any interrup- 
tion. The schismatic, my former gaoler, remained with 
the boat, and the two Catholics came with the rope. It 
was a new rope, for they had lost the former one in the 
river on occasion of their disaster. They fastened the 
rope to a stake, as I had told them ; they found the 
leaden ball which we threw, and tied the string to the 
rope. We had great difficulty however in pulling up 
the rope, for it was of considerable thickness, and double 
too. In fact Father Garnet ordered this arrangement, 
fearing lest otherwise the rope might break by the 
weight of my body. But now another element of danger 
showed itself, which we had not reckoned on : for the 
distance was so great between the tower and the stake 
to which the rope was attached, that it seemed to stretch 
horizontally rather than slopingiy ; so that wc could not 
get along it merely by our weight, but would have to 
propel ourselves by some exertion of our own. We 
proved this first by a bundle which wc had made of 
books and some other things wrapped up in my cloak. 
This bundle we placed on the double rope to see if it 

Hosted by 


Escape from the Totver. 287 

would slide down of itself, but it stuck at once. And it 
was well it did ; for if it had gone out of our reach 
before it stuck, wc should never have got down ourselves. 
So we took the bundle back and left it behind. 

" My companion, who had before spoken of the descent 
as a thing of the greatest ease, now changed his mind, 
and confessed it to be a thing very difficult and full of 
danger. ' However,' said he, ' I shall most certainly be 
hanged if I remain now, for we cannot throw the rope 
back without its falling into the water, and so betraying 
both us and our friends. I will therefore descend, please 
God, preferring to expose myself to danger with the hope 
of freedom, rather than to remain here with good certainty 
of being hanged.' So he said a prayer, and took to the 
rope. He descended fairly enough, for he was strong 
and vigorous, and the rope was tlien taut ; his weight 
however slackened it considerably, which made the danger 
for nie greater, and though I did not then notice this, 
yet 1 found it out afterwards when I came to make the 

'■ So commending myself to God, to our Lord Jesus, 
to the Blessed Virgin, to my Guardian Angel, and all my 
patrons, particularly Father Southwell, who had been 
imprisoned near this place for nearly three years before 
his martyrdom, and Father Walpole, I took the rope 
in my right hand and held it also with my left arm ; 
then I twisted my legs about it, to prevent falling, in 
such a way that the rope passed between my shins, 
I descended some three or four yards face downwards, 
when suddenly my body swung round by its own weight 
and hung under the rope. The shock was so great that 
I nearly lost my hold, for I was still but weak, especially 
in the hands and arms. In fact, with the rope so slack 
and my body hanging beneath it, I eouid hardly get on 
at all. At length I made a shift to get on as far as 
the middle of the rope, and there I stuck, my breath 

Hosted by 


288 Life of Father John Gerard. 

and my strength failing me, neither of which were very 
copious to begin with. After a little time, the saints 
assisting me. and my good friends below drawing me to 
them by their prayers, I got on a little further and stuck 
again, thinking I should never be able to accomplish it. 
Yet I was loth to drop into the water as long as I could 
possibly hold on. After another rest therefore I sum- 
moned what remained of my strength, and helping myself 
with legs and arms as well as I could, I got as far as the wall 
on the other side of the moat. But my feet only touched 
the top of the wall, and my whole body hung horizontally, 
my head being no higher than my feet, so slack was the 
rope. In such a position, and exhausted as I was, it was 
hopeless to expect to get over the wall by my own 
unaided strength. So John Lilly got on to the wall 
somehow or other (for, as he afterwards asserted, he never 
knew how he got there), took hold of my feet, and by 
them pulled me to him, and got me over the wall on 
to the ground. But I was quite unable to stand, so they 
gave me some cordial waters and restoratives which they 
had brought on purpose. By the help of these I managed 
to walk to the boat, into which wc all entered. They had, 
however, before leaving the wall, untied the rope from 
the stake and cut off a part of it, so that it hung down 
the wall of the Tower. We had previously, indeed, 
determined to pull it away altogether, and had with this 
object passed it round a great gun on the Tower without 
knotting it. But God so willed it that we were not able 
by any exertion to get it away ; and if we had succeeded 
it would certainly have made a loud splash in the water, 
and perhaps have brought us into a worse danger. 
On entering the boat we gave hearty thanks to God 
Who had delivered us from the hand of the perse- 
cutor, and from all the expectation of the people ;i 
and we also returned our best thanks to those who had 

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Escape from ike Tower. 2 

exposed themselves to such labours and perils for < 

Father Gerard has now told the story of his torture in 
the Tower and of his escape from that famous State 
prison. However eager we might be to identify the places 
mentioned by him, it was impossible that we should permit 
ourselves to check the interest of the stoiy by breaking its 
thread. Now that the tale is told we may pause to visit 
the Tower of London ' to ascertain which was the cell 
occupied by Father Gerard and which was the point where 
he succeeded in crossing the moat. He has mentioned a 
sufficient number of circumstances to make this identi- 
fication possible, and as far at least as the cells are con- 
cerned which were honoured by the imprisonment of 
Father Henry Walpole and himself, they are happily in 
excellent condition, and but little changed. 

He has told us that, when brought to the Tower, he 
was conducted by Sir Henry Barkeley, the Lieutenant, "to 
a lai^e high tower of three storeys, with a separate lock-up 
place in each, one of a number of different towers con- 
tained within the whole inclosure. He left me," said 
Father Gerard, " in the lowest part," and the warder, after 
throwing some straw on the ground, " fastened the door 
of my prison and secured the upper door both with a 
great bolt and iron bars. The next day I examined the 
place, for there was some light though dim, and I found 
the name of Father Henry Walpole, of blessed memory, 
cut with a knife on the wall, and not far from there I 
found his oratory, which was a space where there had 
been a narrow window, now blocked up with stones. 
There he had written on either side with chalk the names 
of the different choirs of angels, and on the top, above 
the cherubim and seraphim, the name of the Mother of 

■ This examination of the localities in the Tower of London was 
published in Ihe Month for December, 1874. 

Hosted by 


290 Life of Father John Gerard. 

God, and above that again, in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, 
the name of God." 

The place thus described was the Salt Tower, an 
ancient tower, the origin of the name of which is un- 
known, and which seems at one time to have shared with 
the White Tower the honour of being called after "Julyus 
Sesar." ' The tower has received a new external face of 
stone, but the interior is as nearly in its ancient state as is 
compatible with its present use as a dwelling-house. A door 
has been opened at the bottom of the tower, which did 
not exist in Father Gerard's time, when the entrance to it 
was from the ballium wall or inner line of fortification, 
of which the Salt Tower formed the south-east angle. 
Father Gerard took no account of what is now called the 
cellar, and the interior face of the stones of its walls shows 
no sign of ever having been scored by a prisoner's knife. 
Besides this there are three ancient storeys. What wc 
should now call the first floor is the cell to which Father 
Gerard descended from the door by which he entered the 
tower, and which he calls "the lower dungeon" where 
Father Walpole's "oratory" was. The room is " suffi- 
ciently large and commodious for a prisoner," being 
internally a pentagon about sixteen feet across. It is 
no longer dimly lighted, for a modern two-light ^othic 
window has taken the place of one of the ancient loop- 
holes, through which the cell received of old such light 
and air as it had. There were five of these narrow 
openings in the enormously thick walls of the circular 
tower, and as Father Gerard says that one at least of 
these was blocked up with stones, the place may well 
have been dim. 

There are many inscriptions remaining on the walls 

of the cell, Interesting enough in their way ; but there is 

one in particular, that has not been noticed in any of the 

books written on the Tower, the sight of which is enough 

■ Survey of 1532, quoted in Bayly's History cfl/u Tir.ver. 

Hosted by 


Escape from the Tower. 291 

to make one's heart leap into one's mouth. These are the 
words, thickly coated with whitewash, 

imprisoned. The name of the martyr is to be seen where 
Father Gerard saw it, by the window, though of course 
the holy words that he had written dose by in chall< have 
long ago been effaced. A very fine old fireplace faces 
you as you enter the cell, and the window once thus 
sanctified is the next to it on your left. " It was truly a 
great consolation to me," says Father Gerard, and his 
words find their echo still, "to find myself in this place, 
hallowed by the presence of so great and so devoted a 
martyr, the place too in which he was frequently tortured, 
to the number, as I have heard, of fourteen times. Pro- 
bably they were unwilling to torture him in public and 
in the ordinary place, because they did it oftener than 
they would have it known." There are other thoughts 
that mingle in our minds with those expressed by Father 
Gerard, for he did not know that which to our grief the 
State Papers make known to us, that the cruel, oft-repeated 
torture did its wicked work, and wrenched from the broken 
spirit what the conscience condemned. But though they 
extorted what was wrong, the torturers evidently did not 
get all that they wanted, so that that which they got was 
valueless in their eyes. So they sent him to York to be 
tried for the crime of his priesthood, and the guilt of the 
words extorted by torture was washed away in the baptism 
of blood. 

Hosted by 


292 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

Father Gerard's prison was the cell overhead. It must 
be visited in order to ascertain which was the tower 
where Father Gerard said mass and from the top 
of which he afterwards escaped. It "lay opposite to 
mine," he says, "on the other side of a small garden 
within the Tower." So far the description is verified by 
either of two small towers in the outer line of fortification. 
The Salt Tower, the Well Tower, and the Cradle Tower 
were at the corners of a small triangular garden called the 
Queen's Privy Garden — the King's Gallery, which Oliver 
Cromwell afterwards pulled down, at that time dividing 
the King's Garden from the Queen's. The Well Tower, 
which still exists, is the nearest of the two to the Salt 
Tower, but externally no window now exists by which the 
Well Tower could have been seen from a cell in the Salt 
Tower, and the question was whether the new face of 
stonework had closed an ancient window, and this an 
internal examination alone could show. It was plain at a 
first glance that there was no such window. A fireplace, 
immediately over the broad chimney-piace in the cell 
below, occupies the whole site of the tower that turns 
towards the Well Tower; while through the deep em- 
brasure on the right hand the little modern artillery tower 
that covers the remains of the old Cradle Tower ^an be 
plainly seen. 

It was then in the Cradle Tower that John Arden 
was immured. When on the leads of his tower, he would 
not be so high as Father Gerard was in his cell half-way 
up the Salt Tower. " Here he would salute me," says 
Father Gerard, " and wait for my blessing on bended 
knees." From this loophole Arden learnt by signs that 
there was writing on the apparently blank pages in which 
the crosses and rosaries of orange peel were wrapped, and 
that it could be made legible by being held to the fire. 
" I dared not speak to him across the garden " — the two 
towers were about five and forty yards apart — "as what I 

Hosted by 


Escape from the Tower. 293 

said would easily have been overheard by others." There 
it was, then, in the little Cradle Tower that on the 
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, now nearly three centuries 
ago, the mass was said, "that confessor of Christ com- 
municated, after having been so many years deprived of 
that favour," and thence that Father Gerard returned to the 
Salt Tower, with a beating heart, bearing with him a pyx 
containing two and twenty particles, and thus " for many 
days renewed the divine banquet with ever fresh delight 
and consolation." 

Reluctantly we leave the cell where the Hidden God 
did not disdain to come to console the prisoner for His 
Name's sake, and we go out into into the paved yard 
which was once the Queen's Garden. The Cradle Tower 
attracts us, and we see that its remains are very interesting. 
In the lower part of it there is an arch which spanned a 
water-way entrance,' which served for the admission into 
the Tower precincts of arrivals by the river, whose im- 
portance did not call for the unclosing of the Traitors' 
Gate. This Cradle Tower was parted from its neighbour, 
called the Lanthorn, by a gateway through which ran the 
outer ward. That Lanthorn Tower, till Oliver Cromwell 
destroyed it, contained the King's bedchamber, and many 
an uneasy head has lain there the night before it was 
burdened with the Crown of England ; but the site of 
that royal chamber has less interest for us at this moment 
than the modem little turret that covers the beautiful 
vaulting of the old Cradle Tower. We look over the 
parapet, and see before us the moat, the Tower wharf, 
and the River Thames beyond. Fill the moat with water, 
as it fills even yet in time of floods, build a wall along the 
wharf on the other side of the moat, and you see things 

' Mr. Hepworth DUon in Her Majesty' s Timiir gives a view in which a 
footbiidge crosses the moat from the Cradle Tower and a pathway leads to 
the river-bank. This ia evidently owing to a misunderstanding of the water- 
gale which is shown in the contemporary engraving. 

Hosted by 


294 ^if^ ^f Father John Gerard. 

much as John Gerard and John Arden saw them when 
they debated the feasibility of close prisoners escaping- 
from the Tower of London. It is the one spot where 
their enterprise was possible. Opposite to the Well Tower 
on your left were buildings along the moat, as the old 
bird's-eye view taken in 1597 shows, which would have 
hindered escape there. The moat, too, is a trifle narrower 
opposite to the Cradle. Both the Well and the Cradle 
are built some nine or ten feet projecting into the moat, 
and the remaining width of moat opposite the Cradle is 
only thirty feet. There was a wall, as we have said, 
dividing the wharf from the moat. Over this the prisoners 
threw a leaden ball to which twine was attached. Their 
faithful friends tied the bight of a rope to it, fastening 
the ends to a stake, and a gun on the tower served to 
hold the double rope. The Cradle Tower was a very low 
one, probably not more than a few feet higher than the 
opposite wall, and the main difficulty of the escape con- 
sisted in this, that the rope was nearly horizontal and 
there was the greatest danger of falling into the water. 
The portion of the wharf that they at length reached was 
that which was visible from Father Gerard's cell, where 
Francis Page used to walk up and down, and stop and doff 
his hat and look for Father Gerard's blessing until at last 
he was noticed and Mr. Lieutenant took him in charge. To 
this .part of the wharf a modem drawbridge now gives 
access between the Well and the Cradle Towers, opposite 
to the Salt Tower ; and so, looking back upon them as we 
leave them and mentally reproducing the scenes of our 
story, we take our leave of the cruel Tower of London. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXL 


The following inscriptions are still to be seen in the soffit 
of one of the windows of Father Gerard's cell, and as they are 
anterior in date to the time of his imprisonment his eye has 
often scanned them. 










R biixton 




1581 22 July ffixer 

Father Gerard probably recognized all these his predecessors 
in captivity. We do not know who the F. Digby was, whose 
limping verse, in exquisitely cut letters, tells iis that he held his 
captivity there after his former felicity to be the greatest possible 
grief that could befall him. The year that he has noted is that 
of the death of Edward the Sixth, of Lady Jane Grey's short reign, 
and of Mary's accession. Chetwode we do not know, nor Buxton; 
but John Fixer was one of a party of twelve priests who left 
Seville for England at the end of 1590, of which number three, 
John Cecil alias Snowden, James Young alias Dingley alias 
Christopher, and this John Fixer alias Wilson, are shown by 
Lord Burghley's letters in the Public Record Office to have 
become spies and traitors. " Godsa " is probably the beginning 
of the name of a Donay priest, named John Godsalfe, who was 

John Colleton, or Collington, and Thomas Ford were the two 
priests who lay side by side with Father Campion in the hiding- 
place at Lyford, and were taken with him on the 17th of July, 
1581. We do not know which cell it was in which Campion was 

Hosted by 


2g6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

confined, but we learn from Bayly that Thomas Ford, who was 
afterwards martyred, was imprisoned in the Broad Arrow Tower. 
The date of the 22nd of July, which Colleton has left on the 
wall of the Salt Tower, is the very day when they were handed 
over to the custody of the Lieutenant of the Tower. Colleton 
was therefore confined here in the first instance. He was after- 
wards transferred to the Beauchamp Tower, where his name 
appears again ; probably afier his acquittal at Father Campion's 
trial on the alibi proved by Mr. Lancaster, who witnessed " that 
he was with him in Grays Inn the very day that he was chatted 
with plotting at Rheims." The Donay Diary gives his name as 
sent into banishment in January, 1585, one of the seventy-two 
priests who were transported at the same time. He soon returned 
to England, and lived till 1635. He was the first Dean of the 
Bishop of Chalcedon's Chapter, 

Egrcmont Radcliffe, Bayly tells us, was the only son of Henry 
Radclifie, second Earl of Essex, by his second wife, Anne, 
daughter of Sir Philip Calthorpe of Norwich, knight. His life 
was an unhappy one, and it was unhappily ended. Having been 
engaged in the rebellion of the North in 1569, he fled to Spain 
and Flanders, but pining for home he wrote earnest letters to ask 
Burghley's intercession with Elizabeth. His enemy, however, 
was his own half-brother, the Ear] of Sussex, then Lord Chamber- 
lain to the Queen. He crept nearer and nearer to England, as 
the dates of his letters show, first to Bruges, then to Calais ; and 
at last, despite a warning that Elizabeth sent him, he landed 
without leave, and was at once sent to the Tower of London. 
He was at one time in the Beauchamp Tower, where, as in the 
Salt Tower, he has cut his name and his motto Pour pa)~venir. 
On being banished once more, he entered the service of Don 
John of Austria, but— it is said, by Walsingham's contrivance- 
he was executed for conspiring against Don John's life. Sanders 
has the worst opinion of him, calling him "an assassin, with 
daring enough for any deeds of the kind." He was executed by 
the Prince of Parma after Don John's death, and at his execution 
he is said to have confessed that he was sent over to murder 
Cardinal Allen. 

These are all that remain of the inscriptions of prisoners in 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXI. 297 

Father Gerard's cell. In Father Walpole's cell we find the fol- 

IHS Mar. 15, 1587 


1587 January 24 I. LVON^ 1574 

Custos MM hoc scripsit JOHN BAPTISTE 



HVMFRY HOLT 1553 Me use Mali 1552 HVMFRY 


These are of less interest, as we do not know the names. 
Michael Moody alone is recognizable, for he was committed to 
the Tower on account of the fictitious plot of the younger 
Stafford, the Ambassador's brother, against Elizabeth's life, which 
was invented in order to hasten the execution of Mary, Queen 
of Scots. On the left hand side of the room there was a shield 
bearing three crosses, and a long memorial in French, which was 
whitewashed over when Bayly wrote. 

Besides these inscriptions there is a carving, and a very 
curious one, in the cell. It is a circle intersected by many lines, 
inclosed in a square divided into degrees, and at the side are 
the signs of the Zodiac arranged in seven columns. In the 
middle the word "afternoon" is still decipherable. The inscrip- 
tion on it is — ■ 

SPHEER . THE . 30 . DAYE . OF . MAYE . ANNO . 1561 

In another part of the room there is a globe carved by the 
same man. He was committed March 20, 1560, "accused by 
John Man, an astronomer, on a suspect of [being] a conjurer 
or sorcerer, and thereby to practise matter against Sir William 
St. Lowe [spelt also Sentlo] and my lady." So writes Sir Edward 
Warner, Lieutenant of the Tower, to the Lords of the Privy 
Council, dating his letter four days before poor Draper dated his 
inscription. The Lieutenant adds, " He is presently very sick. 
He seemeth to be a man of good wealth, and keepeth a tavern 
at Biistowe [Bristol], and is of his neighbours well reported." 

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"We went some considerable distance in the boat before 
landing. After we had landed I sent the gentleman, my 
companion, with John Lilly, to my house, of which I have 
before spoken, which was managed by that saintly widow. 
Mistress Line. I myself, however, with Richard Fulwood 
went to a house which Father Garnet had in the suburbs ; ' 
and there Little John and I, a little before daylight, 
mounted our horses, which he had ready there for the 
purpose, and rode straight off to Father Garnet, who was 
then living a short distance in the country. Wc got there 
by dinner-time, and great rejoicing there was on my 
arrival, and much thanksgiving to God at my having thus 
escaped from the hands of my enemies in the name of the 

"In the meanwhile I had sent Richard Fulwood with 
a couple of horses to a certain spot, that he might be ready 
to ride off with my gaoler, if he wished to consult his 
immediate safety. For I had a letter written, of which I 
made previous mention, which was to be taken to him 
early in the morning at the place where he was accustomed 
to meet John Lilly. Lilly, however, did not carry the 
letter, for I had bidden him remain quiet within doors, 

' Father Tesimond in ihe Narrative of his coming on ihe English Mission, 
says thai when he came to England in this veiy year 1597, Father Garnet was 
living at a house called Morecroftes in Uxbridge, twelve or thirteen miles from 
London. The house in the suburbs was in Spitallields. Troiiiles, First Series, 
pp. 177, 179. 

Hosted by 


At large again. 299 

until such time as the storm which was to be expected 
had blown over. So another person took the letter, and 
gave it to the gaoler at the usual meeting place. He was 
indeed surprised at another's coming, but took the letter 
without remark, and was about to depart with the intention 
of delivering it to me as usual ; but the other stopped him, 
saying : 

" 'The letter is for you, and not for any one else.' 

" ' For me ? ' said the gaoler : ' from whom, then, does 
it come ? ' 

" ' From a friend of yours,' replied the other, ' but who 
he is I don't know.' 

" The gaoler was still more astonished at this, and said, 
' I cannot myself read : if, then, it is a matter which re- 
quires immediate attention, pray read it for me.' 

" So the man that brought the letter read it for him. 
It was to the effect that I had made my escape from 
prison ; and here I added a few (vords on the reasons of 
my conduct, for the purpose of calming his mind. Then 
I told him that though I was no wise bound to protect 
him from the consequences, as I had but used my just 
right, yet as I had found him faithful in the things which 
I had entrusted him with, I was loth to leave him in the 
lurch : if, therefore, he was inclined to provide for his own 
safety immediately, there was a horse waiting for him with 
a guide who would bring him to a place of safety, suffi- 
ciently distant from London, where I would maintain him 
for life, allowing him two hundred florins [20/.] yearly. 
which would support him comfortably. I added that if he 
thought of accepting this offer, he had better settle his 
affairs as quickly as possible, and betake himself to the 
place which the bearer of the letter would show him. 

" The poor man was, as may well be supposed, in a 
great fright, and accepted the offer; but as he was about 
to return to the Tower to settle matters and get his wife 
away, a mate of his met him, and said, ' Be off with you. 

Hosted by 


300 Life of Father John Gerard. 

as quick as you can, for your prisoners have escaped, and 
Master Lieutenant is looliing for you everywliere. Woe 
to you if he finds you I ' So returning all in a tremble 
to the bearer of the letter, he besought him for the love 
of God to take him at once to where the horse was waiting 
for him. He took him, therefore, and handed him over 
to Richard Fulwood, who was to be his guide. Fulwood 
took him to the house of a friend of mine residing at the 
distance of a hundred miles from London, to whom I had 
written, asking him, if such a person should come, to take 
him in and provide for him : I warned him, however, not 
to put confidence in him, nor to acknowledge any acquaint- 
ance with me. I told him that Richard Fulwood would 
reimburse him for all the expenses, but that he must never 
listen to the man if at any time he began to talk about mc 
or about himself. 

" Everything was done as I had arranged ; my friend 
received no damage, and the gaoler remained there out 
of danger. After a year he went into another county, and 
becoming a Catholic, lived there comfortably for iome 
five years with his family on the annuity which I sent 
him regularly according to promise. He died at the end 
of those five years, having been through that trouble 
rescued by God from the occasions of sin, and, as I hope 
brought to Heaven. I had frequently in the prison 
sounded him in matters of religion ; and though his reason 
was perfectly convinced, I was never able to move his will 
My temporal escape, then, I trust, was by the sweet dis- 
position of God's merciful Providence the occasion of his 
eternal salvation. 

"The Lieutenant of the Tower, when he could not 
find either his prisoners or their gaoler, hastened to the 
Lords of the Council with the letters which he had found. 
They wondered greatly that I should have been able to 
escape in such a way ; but one of the chief members of 
the Council, as I afterwards heard, said to a gentleman 

Hosted by 


At large again. 301 

who was in attendance, that he was exceedingly glad I 
had got off. And when the Lieutenant demanded autho 
rity and assistance to search all London for me, and any 
suspected places in the neighbourhood, they all told him 
it would be of no use. 'You cannot hope to find him, 
said they; 'for if he had such determined friends as to 
accomplish what they have, depend upon it they will have 
made further arrangements, and provided horses and 
hiding-places to keep him quite out of your reach.' They 
made search, however, in one or two places, but no one of 
any mark was taken that I could ever hear of. 

" For my part, I remained quietly with Father Garnet 
for a few days, both to recruit myself and to allow the 
talk about my escape to subside. Then my former hosts 
[the Wisemans], who had proved themselves such devoted 
friends, urged my return to them, first to their London 
house close to the Clink Prison, where they were as yet 
residing. So I went to them, and remained there in 
secrecy, admitting but very few visitors ; nor did I ever 
leave the house except at night, a practice I always 
observed when in London, though at this time I did even 
this very sparingly, and visited only a few of my chief 

" At this time I also visited my house, which was then 
under the care of Mistress Line, afterwards martyred. 
Another future martyr was then residing there of whom 
I have previously spoken, namely, Mr. Robert Drury, 
priest. In this house about this time I received one 
who had been chaplain to the Earl of Essex in 
his expedition against the Spanish King, when he took 
Cadiz. He was an eloquent man and learned in languages, 
and when converted to the Catholic faith he had abandoned 
divers great preferments, nay, had likewise endured im- 
prisonment for his religion. Hearing that he had an 
opportunity of making his escape, I offered that he should 
come to my house. There I maintained him for two or 

Hosted by 


302 Life of Father John Gerard. 

three months, during which time I gave him the Spiritual 
Exercises. In the course of his retreat he came to the 
determination of offering himself to the Society : upon 
which I asked him to tell me candidly how he, who had 
been bred up in Calvin's bosom, as it were, had been 
accustomed to military life, and had learnt in heresy and 
had long been accustomed to prefer his own will to other 
people's, could bring himself to enter the Society, where 
he knew, or certainly should know, that the very opposite 
principles prevailed. To this he replied, 'There are three 
things in fact which have especially induced me to take 
this step. First, because I see that heretics and evil livers 
hold the Society in far greater detestation than they do 
any other religious order; from which I Judge that it has 
the Spirit of God in an especial degree, which the spirit 
of the devil cannot endure, and that it has been ordained 
by God to destroy heresy, and wage war against sin in 
general. Secondly, because all ecclesiastical dignities are 
excluded by its Constitutions, whence it follows that there 
is in it a greater certainty of a pure intention ; and as its 
more eminent members are not taken from it for the 
Episcopate, it is more likely to retain its first fervour and 
its high estimation for virtue and learning. Thirdly, be- 
cause in it obedience is cultivated with particular care, 
a virtue for which I have the greatest veneration, not only 
on account of the excellent effects produced thereby in the 
soul, but also because all things must needs go on well in 
a body where the wills of the members are bound together, 
and all are directed by God.' 

"These were his reasons ; so I sent him into Belgium, 
that he might be forwarded to Rome by Father Holt, 
giving him three hundred florins [30/.] for his expenses." 

This chaplain to the Earl of Essex was evidently the 
well known William Alabaster, who apostatized after this 
was written. The Earl's chaplains on this expedition 
were Mr. Sharpe, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Alabaster, and Mr. 

Hosted by 


Ai large again. 303 

Whalley.' In the examination of William Alabaster 
before Sir John Peyton and Attorney General Coke, he 
says, "After Gerard the priest escaped out of the Tower, 
I had conference with him, and received 30/. in Brussels 
by credit" * 

" I gave the Spiritual Exercises also to some others in 
that house before I gave it up, among whom was a good 
and pious priest, named Woodward, who also found a voca- 
tion to the Society, and afterwards passed into Belgium with 
the intention of entering it ; but as there was a great want 
of English priests in the army at the time, he was ap- 
pointed to that work, and died in it, greatly loved and 
reverenced by all. 

"I did not, however, keep that house long after the 
recovery of my liberty, because it was now known to a 
large number of persons, and was frequented during my 
imprisonment by many more than I should have permitted 
if I had been free. My principal reason, however, for 
giving it up was because it was known to the person who 
had been the cause of my being sent to the Tower. He 
had indeed expressed his sorrow for his act, and had 
written to me to beg my pardon, which I freely gave him ; 
yet as he was released from prison soon after my escape, 
and I found that those among whom he had lived had no 
very good opinion of his character, I did not think it well 
that a thing involving the safety of many should remain 
within his knowledge. Mistress Line, also, a woman of 
singular prudence and virtue, was of the same mind. So 
I determined to make other arrangements as soon as pos- 

" Now a little before this, had begun the movement of 
opposition against the Archpriest. Hence it happened 
that some priests who were in the habit of resorting to 

' Birch's Elkabeth, vol. ii. p. 17. 

' P.R.O., Domestic, Elixabtth, vol. cclxxv. n. 31. See Records, vol. i. pp. 

Hosted by 


304 Life of Father John Gerard. 

my house and residing there for a time, began to swerve 
somewhat from the more perfect course, and yet always 
expected to be received to board and lodging in a house 
where they knew Mistress Line resided. The consequence 
was that this asySum of mine, which should have been 
reserved for the use of myself and my chief friends, was 
the resort of a great number of persons, many of whom 
were no great friends of mine, nor too much to be trusted. 
These circumstances, no less than those I mentioned above, 
confirmed me in my resolution of making a total change 
in my arrangements. 

" It seemed best, therefore, jn order to remove all idea 
of so general a place of resort, that Mistress Line should 
lodge for a space by herself in a hired room of a private 
house ; while I. who did not wish to be without a place in 
London where I could safely admit some of my principal 
friends, and perhaps house a priest from time to time, 
joined with a prudent and pious gentleman, who had a 
wife of similar character, in renting a large and spacious 
house between us. Half the house was to be for their use. 
and the other half for mine, in which I had a fair chapel 
well provided and ornamented. Hither I resorted when 
I came to London, and here also I sent from time to time 
those I would, paying a certain sum for their board. In 
this way I expended scarce half the amount I did formerly 
under the other arrangement, when I was obliged to main- 
tain a household whether there were any guests in the 
house or not ; though indeed it was seldom that the house 
was empty of guests. 

" I made this new provision for my own and my friends' 
accommodation just in good time ; for most certainly had 
I remained in my former house I should have been taken 
again. The thing happened in this wise. The priest' 

■ Of Atkinson our lalest nolices are in letleis of Father Richard Blount lo 
Father Persons. One is dated May 5, 1602. " Atkinson the apostate was 
this day twice taken by the constables for a rogue lo be sent into Flanders 

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Ai i 

• again. 305 

who, as I have related, got me promoted from a more 
obscure prison to a nobler one, began to importune me 
with continual letters that I would grant him an interview. 
Partly by delaying to answer him, partly by excusing 
myself on the score of occupation, I put him off for about 
half a year. At length he urged his request very press- 
ingjy, and complained to me by letter that I showed 
contempt of him. I sent him no answer, but on a con- 
venient occasion, knowing where he lodged, I despatched 
a friend to him to tell him that if he wished to see me, 
he must come at once with the messenger. I warned the 
messenger, however, not to permit any delay, nor to allow 
him to write anything nor address any one on the way 
if he wished to have an interview with me. 1 arranged, 
moreover, that he should be brought not to any house, 
but to a certain field near one of the Inns of Court, which 
was a common promenade, and that the messenger should 
walk there alone with him till I came. It was at night, 
and there was a bright moon. I came there with a couple 
of friends, in case any attempt should be made against me, 
and making a half circuit outside, entered the field near 
the house of a Catholic which adjoined it ; and our good 
friend catching first sight of me near this house, thought 
perhaps that I came out of it, and in fact the Archpriest 
was lodging in it at the time. However that may be, I 

wilh olher soldiers, which are now pressing in all haste, bul was slill dis- 
charged by the Chief Justice ; and now the third time is apprehended by 
warrant from the same Chief Justice and lieth loaded with irons in the dungeon 
at Newgate." In another letter dated December 7, 1606, Father Blount says, 
" These naughty priests afflict us much, for besides Sltydmore, the Bishop of 
Canterbury's man, Rowse, Atkinson, Graveier and other relapsed, which 
openly profess lo betray their brethren, others are no less dangerous which 
persuade 3. lawfulness of going lo sermons and to service." This Atkinson 
was the cause of the death of at least one martyr. Sir Robert Cecil endorsetJ 
the letter quoted in a former note "Atkinson's letter, the priest that discovered 
Tychburn and was brought me by Mr. Fowler." Thomas Tichbourne suffered 
for his priesthood at Tyburn, April 20, 1602. Bishop Chafloner says 1601, 
but the error has been obligingly pointed out lo us by Canon Toole of Man- 


Hosted by 


3o6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

found him there walking and waiting for me, and when 
1 had heard all he had to say, I saw there was nothing 
which he had not already said in his letters, and to which 
he had not had my answer. My suspicion was therefore 
increased, and certainly not without reason. For within 
a day or two that corner house near which he saw me 
enter the field, and my old house which I had lately left 
(though he knew not I had left it), were bolh of th'em 
surrounded and strictly searched on the same night and 
at the same hour. The Archpriest was all but caught in 
the one ; he had just time to get into a hiding-place, and 
so escaped. The search lasted two whole days in the 
other house, which the priest knew me to have occupied 
at one time. The Lieutenant of the Tower and the 
Knight-Marshal conducted the searches in person, a task 
they never undertake unless one of their prisoners has 
escaped. From these circumstances it is sufficiently clear, 
both whom they were in search of, and from whom they 
got their information." 

The Lieutenant of the Tower was no doubt in search 
of Father Gerard, but the Knight-Marshal was anxious 
to find the Archpriest. In a letter' from John Chamber- 
lain to Dudley Carleton, dated January 17, 159!, which 
date will give us a clue to the time when these searches 
took place, the writer says, "The Queen is very angry 
with Sir Thomas Gerard for the escape of one Blackwell, 
an archpriest, out of the Marshalsea." Queen Elizabeth's 
Knight-Marshal^ was Sir Thomas Gerard, who has been 
already mentioned as created by King James Lord Gerard 
of Gerard's Bromley. 

■ P.R.O., Domeslic, Elisabeth, vol. cclxx. n. 16. 

' The Knighl-Matshal had jarisdiction wilhin Ihe precincts of Ihe Court, 
that is within twelve miles from the lodging of the Sovereign, even on 3 
progress. The Marshalsea was the prison originally attached to Ihe King's 
house, and at first was inlended only for the committal of persons accused of 
offences wilhin the jurisdiction of the Knight-Marshal. It stood in Hieh- 
streel, Southwark, on the south side, between King-street and Metmaid-couit, 
over against Union-street. Cunningham's Handbook nf London, p, 316. 

Hosted by 


Ai large again. 307 

The following- description ' of Blackwell the Archpriest 
was given about this time, "The Archpriest is of comely- 
stature, not very low, grey-haired, and about the age of 
58 or 60. His beard grey, and on his upper lip a red spot 
of hair differing in colour from grey. He is lean-faced, 
a little hollow-eyed, fair, and well-spoken." 

Perhaps the very search for him mentioned by Father 
Gerard is that which is thus related in the Life^ of Anne 
Countess of Arundel. " How willing and desirous she 
■was to have helped any of the Clergy on Just occasions 
is manifest by what she did for the delivery of Mr. Black- 
ivell the first archpriest. For he being forced for his own 
and the gentlewoman's security he hvcd with, to hide 
himself in a secret place of the house when search was 
made after [him] by the heretics, and being in great 
danger of being taken or famished by reason that all the 
Catholics of the house were carried away to prison, and 
heretic watchmen put into the house to keep it and hinder 
any from helping him, she, having notice of his distress, 
dealt so with the officer who had the principal charge 
of that business, that after three days he was content two 
of her servants should come to that house at the time 
when the guard was changed, take Mr. Blackwell out of 
the hiding-place and convey him away, as they speedily 
did, bringing him betwixt them, he not being able to go 
alone, to their lady's house, where after some days for 
refreshing he had stayed, she sent him safe to the place 
he desired to go. She was so well pleased with the officer 
who permitted his escape, that besides a good sum of 
money given at that time, she sent him every year as long 
as he lived a venison pasty to make merry with his friends 
at Christmas." 

Father Gerard resumes, '* But when they found me not 

■ P.R.O., Demaiic, Elisabeth, vol, cclxi. n. 97. 

' The Uves of PkUip Hovmrd, Eca-l of Arundel, and of Amu Daires, his 
wife, p. 316. 

Hosted by 


3o8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

(nor indeed did they find the priest who was then in the 
house Hving with a Catholic to whom I had let it), they 
sent pursuivants on the next day to the house of my host, 
who had by this time returned to his country seat [at 
Braddocks], but by God's mercy they did not find him 
there either. It was well, therefore, that I acted cautiously 
with the above-mentioned priest, and also that I had so 
opportunely changed my residence in London." 

About this time Father General thought of sending 
Father Gerard out of England, evidently from fear lest, 
owing to his zeal, he should be recaptured and be still 
more hardly dealt with, for on March 31, 1598, Father 
Garnet wrote' to Rome, probably to Father Persons: 
"Father Gerard is much dismayed this day when I wrote 
to him to prepare himself to go. He came to me of 
purpose. Indeed he is very profitable to me, and his 
going would be wondered at. I hope he will walk warily 
enough. . . . You know my mind ; if you think it good, 
I desire his stay. All the rest are well." 

"I saw also," says Father Gerard himself, "that it 
would soon be necessary for me to give up my present 
residence in the country, and betake myself elsewhere ; 
otherwise those good and faithful friends of mine [the 
Wisemans] would always be suffering some annoyance 
for my sake. I proposed the matter, therefore, to them, 
but they refused to listen to me in this point, though in 
all other things most compliant. But I thought more of 
their peace than of their wishes, however pious these wishes 
were ; and therefore I laid the matter before my Superior, 
who approved my views. So I obtained from Father 
Garnet another of ours, a pious and learned man whom I 
had known at Rome, and who at present was companion 
to Father Oldcorne of blessed memory : this was Father 
Richard Banks, now professed of four vows. I took him 
to live with me for a time, that I might by degrees intro- 
' StonyhuiEt MSS„ Father Grer.e's CoUeclan. P., vol. U. p. 551. 

Hosted by 


At large again. 309 

duce him into the family in my place ; and in the mean- 
time I made more frequent excursions than usual." 

And thus we have, in the list of Jesuits" with which 
some well informed spy furnished the Earl of Salisbury 
in 1601 or 1602, " Mr. Bankes, with iVIr. Wiseman, of 
Brodocke, in Essex." The mention of Father Gerard in 
the same list is, "John Gerard with Mrs. Vaux and young 
Mr. Hastings." 

' Troiibhs, First Series, p. igi. 

Hosted by 



"In one of these excursions I visited a noble family, by 
whom I had long been invited and often expected, but I 
had never yet been able to visit them on account of my 
pressing occupations. Here I found the lady of the house. 
a widow, very pious and devout, but at this present over- 
whelmed with grief at the loss of her husband. She had 
indeed been so affected by this loss that for a whole year 
she scarce stirred out of her chamber, and for the next 
three years which had intervened before my visit, had 
never brought herself to go to that part of the mansion 
in which her husband had died. To this grief and trouble 
were added certain anxieties about the bringing up of her 
son, who was yet a child under his mother's care. He was 
one of the first barons of the realm ; but his parents had 
suffered so much for the faith, and had mortgaged so much 
of their property to meet the constant exactions of an 
heretical government, that the remaining income was 
scarcely sufficient for their proper maintenance. But a 
wise woman builds up a house and is proved in it." 

This lady was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Roper, 
who was raised to the peerage in 1616 as Lord Tcynham. 
In iS90<she married George, the second son of William, 
Lord Vaux of Harrowden, but her husband died in 1594, 
during the lifetime of his father. When in the following 
year her father-in-law also died, she was left in charge of 

' P.R.O., DomtUk, Elisahilh, vol. ccxs^iii. n. 3. 

Hosted by 


Elizabeth Vatix. 311 

her infant son Edward, fourth Baron Vaux of Harrow- 
den. The family was conspicuous for its Catholicity, and 
suffered accordingly. William Lord Vaux wrote' to Lord 
Burghley, February 18, 159Z, signing himself, "infortu- 
natest peer of Parliament for poverty that ever was, 
W. Harowden;" and in the letter he says, "My parliament 
robes arc at pawn to a citizen, where I have offered large 
interest {unable to disburse the principal) to borrow them 
for some few days, also offering niy bond with surety to 
redeliver them, nevertheless I cannot obtain them." 

William Lord Vaux had three sons, Henry, George, 
and Ambrose. The eldest, Henry, was one of that zealous 
band of young Catholic gentlemen who received Fathers^ 
Campion and Persons on their arrival in England in 1580. 
It is he who is meant, apparently, and who is named with 
Father Gerard, in the list^ of " Persons to be sought after. 
August 9, 1586. The son of Sir Thomas Gerard. The 
Lord Vaux his son." It is not known when he died, but 
F"athcr Persons, in his MS. Life of Campion.^ written in 
1594, thus speaks of him. "That blessed gentleman and 
saint, Mr. Henry Vaux, whose life was a rare mirror of 
religion and holiness unto all that knew him and conversed 
with him. He died most sweetly and comfortably in 
England, having rcsig-ned long before his death, and in his 
perfect health, his inheritance to the Barony to his younger 
brother, reserving only a small annuity to himself whereby 
to live in study and prayer all the days of his life without 
marrying as he full[y] resolved to do ; and in like manner 
died his brother-in-law Mr. Brooks, son and heir to his 
father, and a great admirer and follower of Mr. Henry 
Vaux his virtues, as he might in the state of wedlock 
wherein he was.'"^ 

■ Ellis' Original Ijtters, 3rd series, vol. iv. p. 109. 
' Brit. Mus. HarUian MSS. 360, f. 8, 
' Stonyhursl MSS. Father Grene's Colleclan. P. f. 126. 
' "Ad hunc Henricum videtur sciipta prima epislola Campiani in edit, 
Antwerp. 1631." Marginal noU by Father Grene, CollKlan. P. (. 151. 

Hosted by 


312 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Ambrose, the third son, was a Knight of the Holy 
Sepulchre. John Withiei in 1635 calls him, in error, 
Prior of St. John of Jerusalem. He did not belong to the 
Order of Malta. The account of his knighthood is given 
in the MS. Chronicle of St. Monica's Convent at Louvain. 
After saying that Anthony Copley, the third son of Sir 
Thomas Copley, was banished with Sir Griffin Markham, 
it continues, "he gave himself after his coming on this side 
the seas to devotion, and took a voyage to the Holy 
Land together with Mr. Ambrose Vaux, and coming to 
Jerusalem, they were both knighted at our Lord's 
Sepulchre ; as the manner is that when such pilgrims 
there as can show sufficient proofs to be of noble 
extraction and capable of knighthood, if they will under- 
take to observe the points there proposed, for to defend 
the honour of God in the manner set down, the Guardian 
of the Franciscan Convent there dubbeth them Knights. 
After they had performed their devotions, visiting the 
holy places, in their return home he died by the way, 
and Sir Ambrose Vaux coming home brought news of 
his death." In the Pilgrim-book of the English College 
at Rome^ a visit of his on the 12th of August, 1609, is 

Anne Vaux and Eleanor, the widow of Edward 
Brooksby, or Brooks, as Father Persons calls him, of 
whom such frequent mention is made as Father Garnet's 
hostesses, were half sisters of George Vaux. Their mother, 
William Lord Vaux's first wife, was EHzabeth, daughter 
of John Beaumont of Gracedieu in Leicestershire, while 
the mother of George Vaux was Mary, sister of Sir 
Thomas Tresham, of Rushton in Northamptonshire. The 

■ Brit. Mus, Narlilan'MS. 1073. Smii ^/-4™j by John Withie, who is 
also in error when he says thai Heniy Vaux " died a prisoner in Ihe Tower of 

' "Die iiAugustiIi6o9]exceplusfuilDominus Ambrosius Vauxgencrosus 
et nobilis, quem famulus suus post Ires dies assequutus pariler excephis (uit 

Hosted by 


Elizabeth Vaux. 


Catholicity of the whole family, and of all those connected 
with it, was undoubted, excepting it would seem George 
Vaux, who " became a Catholic before his death." Before 
going with Father Gerard to Mrs, Vaux's house, we may 
avail ourselves of the insight we obtain into her father- 
in-law's London house from the confession' of a spy 
called Ralph Myller, dated October 9, 1584. "This 
examinate did afterwards meet one Robert Brown, who 
hath an uncle a priest with the Lord Vaux, who is a little 
man with wliite head, and a little brown hair on his face, 
goeth in an ash-coloured doublet coat and a gown faced 
with cony, and he was made priest long sithence at 
Cambray, as this examinate thinketh. This examinate 
spoke with the Lord Vaux and with his lady at Hackney, 
after that his son Mr. George and the said Robert Browne 
had told him that this examinate was a tailor of Rheims ; 
and on Sunday was fortnight, this examinate did hear 
mass there, whereat were present about eighteen persons, 
being my lord's household, and the priest last before- 
named said the mass. The said priest Heth in a chamber 
beyond the hall, on the left hand [of] the stair that leadeth 
to the chambers, and the mass is said in the chapel, being 
right over the port entering into the hall ; and the way to 
it is up the stair aforesaid, on the left hand, at the further 
end of the gallery; and there is a very fair crucifix of 

It may seem rash with so few data as those given by 
Father Gerard to name the Jesuit Father who was with 
Mrs. Vaux before his arrival ; but as there were but 
fifteen Fathers in England at the time,^ and we know 
the whereabouts of them all, it may perhaps be allowable 
to conjecture that it was Father Richard Cowling, a 
Yorkshireman,3 who came on the English mission in 
April 1596. Lord Salisbury's " Note of Jesuits that lurk 
* P.R.O., DemesHc, EKzabeth, vol. cluxHi. n. 64. 

Hosted by 


314 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

in England" in 1601-2 assigns him to Mr. Bentley's in 

Father Gerard says, " I found residing with this family 
one of our Fathers, a learned man and a good preacher : 
he had been a year in the house, but some of the 
household were prejudiced against him. The mistress, 
however, always showed him the utmost reverence, and 
was assiduous in approaching the Sacraments. On my 
arrival this good widow seemed to see her wishes fulfilled, 
and not only welcomed me charitably, but appeared 
so changed from grief to joy, that some of her household 
represented to me that if I would come there oftcner, still 
more if I could reside there permanently, they were 
assured she would lay aside that long-continued grief, and 
that both she herself and her affairs would soon be in a 
better condition. This I think they had from the mistress 
herself For she soon took an opportunity of praising the 
happiness of my hosts, of whom she had heard much, not 
only about their domestic chapel and altar furniture, but 
also about their virtue and patience, which had been so 
tried in the fire of persecution. She added that she 
marvelled not that they went forward so steadfastly since 
they had such a guide ; she also would be able to do the 
like, had she but like opportunity ; then all her affairs 
would go well, 

" I saw how much she was deceived in me, and how she 
thought of mc above what was in me ; I answered her 
therefore that she had even more and greater helps than 
they had, which was indeed but the truth. She rejoined 
that she had indeed a good and pious director whom she 
both much reverenced and loved ; but that as he had 
never lived in the world, having always been with those 
who gave themselves to study, he was not so well able 
to judge what was best to be done in worldly affairs, 
and consequently some in the house were opposed to him. 

" ' These persons,' said I, ' are evidently not possessed 

Hosted by 


Elizabeth Vaux. 


of the true spirit, which supposes obedience and subordina- 
tion : and they would treat me in like fashion were I living 
in the house.' 

"'They should soon quit it then,' she replied, 'even if 
they were ten times as necessary to me as they are." In 
fact they had the principal charge of the household under 
their mistress. 

" She besought me to make trial of her, whether or no 
she would be obedient in all that I might judge to be for 
the greater glory of God. I felt it Impossible to reject 
such an offer from such a person, made as it was at a time 
when good reasons made it expedient that I should change 
my residence. Nay, it seemed to me clearer than noon-day 
that God's good providence had arranged this, as from the 
first day of my arrival in England it had directed me 
hither and thither, but always changing my position for 
the better, continually affording me additional means of 
becoming acquainted with greater numbers of persons, and 
those of higher rank, and of strengthening and guiding 
them in His service. I replied to her therefore, that I 
returned her my best thanks, and that I would mention her 
pious wish to my Superior : I added that there was one 
thing that inclined me to listen to her proposal, and this 
was that whereas elsewhere I had only a secular priest as 
companion, in her house I should have a member of 
the same Society with myself, and a person whom I 
much loved. 

" On my return to London therefore I proposed the 
matter to Father Garnet, who was much rejoiced at the 
offer, knowing the place to be one where much good might 
be done both directly and indirectly. He said too that the 
offer had occurred most opportunely, for that there were 
some Catholics in another county more to the north, where 
there was no priest of the Society, who had been long 
petitioning for this very father, at present stationed at that 
house, and who would much rejoice at the prospect of 

Hosted by 


3i6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

having him among them. To this I urged that the place 
was large enough for two, and that I very much desired to 
have a companion of the Society with me. Father Garnet, 
however, had already determined to place another Father 
in that residence, on account of the opposition of which I 
have spoken ; and was therefore un^villing to let me have 
him for companion. I then requested that he would 
assign me Father John Percy, with whom I had become 
acquainted during my imprisonment, not indeed person- 
ally but by frequent interchange of letters. This father 
had been brought prisoner from Flanders to Holland,' 
where he was recognized and tortured ; he was afterwards 
thrown into the foul gaol of Bridewell, and after remaining 
there some time made a shift to escape from a window 
with another priest, letting himself down with a rope. 
Mistress Line made him welcome in my house, where he 
tarried for a time ; but soon after went down into the 
county of York, and dwelt there with a pious Catholic. 
In this part he made himself so dear to every one, that 

■ "He was sent lo Toumay foe his noviceship in 1594, and loB'ards the 
end of the second year over application had so injured his head that he had lo 
be forbid<ien to use any kind of prayer. Sent lo recruit in his native air, he 
passed ihrouEfi Holland on his way Kn England. At Flushing he was taken 
by some English soldiers. The letter he was carrying showing who he was, 
they threatened him with torture unless he would say who had brought him 
over from Rotterdam. He was ready to confess anything about himself, but 
he would say nothing of any one else ; so, instead of offering, as he had hoped 
to do that day, the Sacrifice of the Body of Christ, he offered that of his own, 
to undergo anything rather than betray others. They hung him up by the 
hands to a pulley, and then tortured him by twisting a sailor's cord round his 
head. During the torture he fixed his mind on the eternity of either pain or 
joy, and uttered nothing but " O eternity ! " The harm the soldiers tried to 
do him turned out a remedy, for the head-ache and singing in the head, from 
which he had sufTered in the noviceship, diminished from that time and 
gradually ceased. He was taken to London in custody and committed to 
Bridewell, where his cell was an utterly unfurnished turret. His bed was the 
brick floor and a little straw, till he was helped by the care and charity of his 
Catholic fellow prisoners, and of our Father Gerard. The latter, who was in 
the Clink, kept up a secret correspondence with him, and came lo his help 
both with his advice and money. After about seven months he succeeded ia 
making his escape through the tiling, together with two other priests and seven 
Jaymen." Father Mote, HUtoria Provincia, !. viii, c. 23. 

Hosted by 


Elizabeth Vaux. 


though I had Father Garnet's consent, it was a full year 
before I could get him away from them. 

" Since now to the desire of this noble widow was 
added the approval of Father Garnet, I so settled my 
affairs as to provide amply for the security and advantage 
of my former hosts [the Wisemans]. For I left with them 
Father Banks, a most superior man in every respect : and 
although at first my old friends did not value him so much, 
yet as they became better acquainted they found that the 
good account I had given them was no more than the 
truth, and soon came to esteem him as a father. I often 
afterwards visited their house, where I had found so great 
faith and piety. 

" When I was domiciled in my new residence, I began 
by degrees to wean my hostess' mind from that excessive 
grief; showing how that we ought to mourn moderately 
only over our dead, and not to grieve like those who have 
no hope. I added that as her husband had become a 
Catholic before his death, one little prayer would do him 
more good than many tears: that our tears should be 
reserved for our own and others' sins, for our own souls 
stood in need of floods of that cleansing water, and it was 
to the concerns of our own souls that all our thoughts and 
labours turned. I then taught her the use of 
meditation, finding her quite capable of profiting by it, for 
her mental powers were of a very high order. I thus 
gradually brought her first to change that old style of 
grief for a more worthy one ; then to give eternal concerns 
the preference over worldly matters ; and to consider how 
she might transform her life, which before was good and 
holy, into better and holier, by endeavouring as much as 
■she could to imitate the life of our Lord and of His saints. 
" In the first place therefore she resolved to lead an 
unmarried life ; secondly to aim at poverty in this sense, 
that all her actual fortune, and all that she might ever 
have, should be devoted to the service of God and His 

Hosted by 


3i8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

ministers, while she herself should be but their servant to 
provide them with what was necessary ; lastly, she gave 
herself above all to obedience, and determined to reduce 
her love of it to practice no less perfectly than if she had 
taken a vow : nay, it was her only trouble that it was 
forbidden to priests of our Society to receive such vows. 
In a word, it was her fixed resolve to imitate as closely as 
possible the life of Martha and the other holy women who 
followed our Lord, and ministered to Him and His 
Apostles. Consequently she was ready to set up her resi- 
dence wherever I judged it best for our purposes, whether 
at London or in the most remote part of the island, as she 
often protested to me. I considered however that though 
a residence in or near London would be better for the 
gaining of souls, yet that it was not at present very safe 
for me ; nor indeed could she remain there in private, since 
she was well known for a Catholic, and the Lords of the 
Council demanded from her frequent accounts of her son, 
the Baron, where and how he was educated. Moreover, as 
she had the management of her son's estate while he was a 
minor, stewards and bailiffs, and other such persons must 
have constant communication with her; so that it was 
quite out of the question her living near London under an 
assumed name; yet this was absolutely necessary if a 
person wished to carry on the good work in that neigh- 
bourhood. It was thus those ladies did with whom Father 
Garnet lived so long, who were in fact sisters of this lady's 
deceased husband, one unmarried, the other a widow. I 
saw therefore no fitter place for her to fix her residence 
than where she was among her own people, where she had 
the chief people of the county connected with her and her 
son, either by blood or friendship. 

"The only difficulty which remained was about the 
exact spot. The house in which she was actually living 
was not only old, but antiquated. It had been the resi- 
dence of her husband's father, who had married a wife 

Hosted by 


Elizabeth Vaux. 


who was a better hand at spending than at gathering, and 
consequently the house was very poorly appointed for a 
family of their dignity. There was another and a larger 
house of theirs at a distance of about three miles, which 
had been the old family seat This had also been neglected, 
so that it was in some part quite ruinous, and not fit for 
our purpose, namely, to receive the Catholic gentry who 
might come to visit me. In addition to this, it was not 
well adapted for defence against any sudden intrusions of 
the heretics, and consequently we should not be able to be 
as free there as my hostess wished. Her desire was to 
have a house where we might as nearly as possible con- 
form ourselves to the manner of life followed in our 
colleges : and this in the end she brought about. 

" She sought everywhere for such a house, and we 
looked at many houses in the country : but something or 
other was always wanting to her wishes. At last we found 
a house which had been built by the late Chancellor of 
England, who had died childless,' and was now to be let 
for a term of years. It was truly a princely place, large 
and well-built, surrounded by gardens and orchards, and 
so far removed from other houses that no one could notice 
our coming in or going out. This house she took on 
payment of fifteen thousand florins [1,500/.], and began to 
fit it up for our accommodation. She wished to finish the 
alterations before we removed thither ; but man proposes, 
and God disposes as He wills, though always for the best, 
and for the true good of His elect" 

Sir Christopher Hatton, who Jied childless, November 2r, 1591, had 
built a country house at Sloke Pogis, Bucks. Campbell's Lives of Ikf 
UtanccUors, 3rd edit. vol. ii. p. 180. 

Hosted by 




"When I came to this lady's house, she had a great 
number of servants, some heretics, others indeed Catholics, 
but allowing themselves too much liberty. By degrees we got 
things into better order : some I made Catholics of, others 
through public and private exhortations became by the 
grace of God more fervent ; in some cases where there did 
not appear any hope of amendment, I procured their 
dismissal, and among these was he who had chieHy 
opposed the former priest of whom I spoke. There was 
another also whom we could not correct as soon as we 
wished, and who brought great trouble on us. For on one 
occasion when we were in London, either from thought- 
lessness or loquacity, or because the yolte of a stricter 
discipline, now begun in the family, sat uneasily upon him, 
he said to a false brother, that I had lately come to live at 
his lady's house, and had carried on such doings there ; 
and that I was then at London at such a house, naming 
the house of which I rented half, as I have before said ; 
he told him also that he had gone to that house with his 
lady, at a time when she and I were in town on business 
connected with her son. My hostess had now returned 
into the country with this servant, leaving me for a short 
time in town. But the man had left this tale behind him, 
which soon came to the ears of the Council, how that I 
had my residence with such a lady, and was at this 
moment at such a house in London. They instantly there- 

Hosted by 


BroOter John Lilly. 321 

fore commissioned two justices of the peace to search the 

" I, who had no inkling of such a danger, had remained 
in town for certain business, and was giving a Retreat to 
three gentlemen in the house before mentioned. One of 
these three gentlemen was iVIaster Roger Lee, now Minister 
in the English College of St. Omers.' He was a gentleman 
of good family, and of so noble a character and such win- 
ning manners that he was a universal favourite, especially 
with the nobility, in whose company he constantly was, 
being greatly given to hunting, hawking, and all other 
nobie sports. He v/as indeed excellent at everything, but 
he was withal a Catholic, and so bent on the study of 
virtue that he was meditating a retreat from the world, 
and a more immediate following of Christ He used 
frequently to visit me when I was in the Clink prison, and 
I clearly saw that he was called to greater things than 
catching birds of the air ; and that he was meant rather to 
be a catcher of men. I had now therefore fixed a time 
with this gentleman and good friend of mine, in which he 
should seek out by means of the Spiritual Exercises the 
strait path that leads to life, under the guidance of Him 
Who is Himself the Way and the Life. 

" But while he and the others were engaged privately in 
their chambers in the study of this heroic philosophy, 
suddenly the storm burst upon us. I too, in fact, after 
finishing my business in town, had taken the opportunity 
of a httle quiet to begin my own fetreat, giving out that I 
had returned into the country, I was now in the fourth 
day of the retreat, when about three o'clock in the after- 
noon John Lilly hurried up to my room and without 
knocking entered with his sword drawn. 

" Surprised at this sudden intrusion, I asked what was 
the matter. 

■ Roger Lee entered the NovLdite of St. Andrew's at Rome October rj, 
1600, and died at Dunkirk in 1615, st. 47. More's Hut. Prm. p. 266. 

Hosted by 


322 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" ' It is a matter of searching the house,' he replied. 
" ' What house ? ' 

" ' This very house ; and they are in it already ! ' 
" In fact they had been cunning enough to knock 
gently, as friends were wont to do; and the servant opened 
readily to them, without the least suspicion until he saw 
them rush in and scatter themselves in al! directions. 

" While John was telling mo this, up came the searching 
party, together with the mistress of the house, to the very 
room in which we were. Now just opposite to my room 
was the chapel, so that from the passage the door of the 
chapel opened on the one hand, and that of my room 
on the other. The magistrates then, seeing the door of 
the chapel open, went in, and found there an altar richly 
adorned, and the priestly vestments laid out close by, so 
handsome as to cause expressions of admiration from the 
heretics themselves. In the meanwhile I in the room 
opposite, was quite at my wit's ends what to do ; for there 
was no hiding-place in the room, nor any means of exit 
except by the open passage where the enemy were. How- 
ever, I changed the cassock which I was wearing for a 
secular coat, but my books and manuscript meditations 
which I had there in considerable quantities I was quite 
unable to conceal. 

"We stood there with our ears close to the chink of 
the door, listening to catch what they said: and I heard 
one exclaim from the chape! ; ' Good God ! what have we 
found here ! I had no thoughts of coming to this house 
to-day ! ' From this I concluded that it was a mere chance 
search, and that they had no special warrant Probably 
therefore, I thought, they had but few men with them. So 
we began to consult together whether it were not better to 
rush out with drawn swords, seize the keys from the 
searching party, and so escape ; for we should have Master 
Lee and the master of the house to help us, besides two or 
three men-servants. Moreover, I considered that if we 

Hosted by 


Broilwr John Lilly. 323 

should be taken in the house the master would certainly be 
visited with a far greater punishment than what the law 
prescribes for resistance to a magistrate's search. 

" While we were thus deliberating, the searchers came 
to the door of my room and knocked. We made no 
answer, but pressed the latch hard down, for the door had 
no bolt or lock. As they continued knocking, the mistress 
of the house said, ' Perhaps the man-servant who sleeps in 
that room may have taken away the key. I will go and 
look for him.' 

" ' No, no ; ' said they, 'you go nowhere without us ; or 
you will be hiding away something.' 

"And so they went with her, not staying to examine 
whether the door had a lock or not. Thus did God blind 
the eyes of the Assyrians that they should not find the 
place, nor the means of hurting His servants, nor know 
where they were going. 

" When they had got below stairs, the mistress of the 
house, who had great presence of mind, took them into 
a room in which some ladies were, viz., the sister i of my 
hostess in the country, and Mistress Line; and while the 
magistrates were questioning these ladies she ran up to 
us saying, 'Quick! quick! get into the hiding-place!' 
She had scarce said this and run down again, before the 
searchers had missed her and were for remounting the 
stairs. But she stood in their way on the bottom step, 
so that they immediately suspected what the case was, and 
were eager to get past. This, however, they could not do 
without laying forcible hands on the lady, a thing which 
as gentlemen they shrank from doing. One of them, 
however, as she stood there purposely occupying the whole 
width of the stair-way, thrust his head past her, in hopes 
of seeing what was going on above stairs. And indeed 
he almost caught sight of me as I passed along to the 

' Elizabeth Vaux's sister was Mary Lady Lovei, the foundress of ihe 
English Teiesian Convent at Antwerp. Supra, p. 63. 

Hosted by 


324 Life of Father John Gerard. 

hiding-place. For as soon as I heard the lady's words of 
warning, I opened the door, and with the least possible 
noise mounted from a stool to the hiding-place, which was 
arranged in a secret gable of the roof When I had myself 
mounted, I bade John Lilly come up also : but he more 
careful of me than of himself, refused to follow me, saying : 
'No, Father; I shall not come. There must be some one 
to own the books and papers in your room ; otherwise, 
upon findiiig them, they will never rest til! they have found 
you too.' 

"So spoke this truly faithful and prudent servant, so 
full of charity as to offer his life for his friend. There 
was no time for further words. I acquiesced reluctantly, 
and closed the small trap-door by which I had entered ; 
but I could not open the door of the inner hiding-place, so 
that I should infallibly have been taken if they had not 
found John Lilly, and mistaking him for a priest ceased 
from any further search. For this was what happened — 
God so disposing it, and John's prudence and intrepidity 
helping thereto. 

" For scarcely had he removed the stool by which I 
mounted, and had gone back to the room and shut the 
door, when the two chiefs of the searching party again 
came up stairs, and knocked violently at the door, ready 
to break it open if the key were not found. Then the 
intrepid soldier of Christ threw open the door and pre- 
sented himself undaunted to the persecutors. 

" ' Wlio are you ? ' they asked. 

" ' A man, as you sec : ' he replied. 

" ' But what are you i" Are you a priest ? ' 

'"I do not say I am a priest,' replied John ; ' that is for 
you to prove. But I am a Catholic certainly.' 

"Then they found there on the table all my medi- 
tations, my breviary, and many Catholic books, and what 
grieved me most of all to lose, my manuscript sermons and 
notes for sermons, which I had been writing or compiling 

Hosted by 


Brother John Lilly. 325 

for the last ten years, and which I made more account of 
perhaps than they did of all their money. After examin- 
ing all these, they asked whose they were. 
" ' They are mine ; ' said John. 

" ' Then there can be no doubt you are a priest. And 
this cassock — whose is this >. ' 

'"That is a dressing-gown, to he used for convenience 
now and then.' 

'■ Convinced now they had caught a priest, they care- 
fully locked up all the books and writings in a box, to be 
taken away with them ; then they locked the chapel-door, 
and put their seal upon it; and taking John by the arm, 
they led him down stairs, and delivered him into the 
custody of their officers. Now when he entered with his 
captors into the room where the ladies were, he, who at 
other times was always wont to conduct himself with 
humility and stand uncovered in such company, now on 
the contrary after saluting them covered his head and sat 
down. Nay, assuming a sort of authority, he said to the 
magistrates : ' These are noble ladies ; it is your duty 
to treat them with consideration, I do not indeed know 
them ; but it is quite evident that they are entitled to the 
greatest respect' 

"I should have mentioned that there was a second 
priest in the house with me. Father Pollen,' an old man, 
who had quite lately made his noviceship at Rome. He 
luckily had a hiding-place in his room, and had got into it 
at the first alarm. 

" The ladies therefore now perceiving that I was 
safe, and that the other priest had also escaped, and 
seeing also John's assumed dignity, could scarce refrain 
from showing their joy. They made no account now 

■ Father Tesimond relates a search [n Sir John Forlescue's house about 
two years earljer than this, in which also Father Joseph Pollen escaped capture. 
7><.«to, First Series, p. 176. This Father was ordained piiest at Cambray 

Hosted by 


326 Life of Father John Gerard. 

of the loss of property, or the annoyance they should 
have to undergo from the suspicion of having had a 
priest in the house. They wondered indeed and rejoiced, 
and almost laughed to see John playing the priest; 
for so well did he do it as to deceive those deceivers, 
and divert them from any further seach. 

"The magistrates who had searched the house took 
away John Lilly with them,' and the master of the house 
also with his two men-servants, under the idea that all his 
property would be confiscated for harbouring a priest. The 
ladies, however, represented that they had merely come to 
pay an after-dinner visit to the mistress of the house, without 
knowing anything about a priest being there ; so they were 
let off on giving bail to appear when summoned. The 
same favour was ultimately shown to Master Roger Lee, 
though it was with greater difficulty the magistrates could 
be persuaded that he was only a visitor. At last then 
they departed well satisfied, and locked up their prisoners 
for the night to wait their morrow's examination, 

"Immediately on their departure the mistress of the 
house and those other ladies came with great joy to give 
me notice ; and we all joined in giving thanks to God Who 
had delivered us all from such imminent danger by the 
prudence and fidelity of one. Father Pollen and I removed 
that very night to another place, lest the searchers should 
find out their error and return. 

"The next day I made a long journey to my hostess' 
house in the country, and caused much fear, and then 
much joy, as I related all that God had done for us. 
Then we all heartily commended John Lilly to God in 

' In the Public Record Office there is a letter which helps us to the date of 
John Lilly's capture. H is dated July z2, 1599, and purpoils to be from 
Francis Cordale to his partner, Balthasar Gybels, at Antweri). " I wrote to 
you of one Mr. Heywood's house searched and a man there taken. I have 
learned his name since to be John Lilly. He is sent to Ihe Tower upon 
suspicion of helping Gerard the Jesuit out of the same place." Donustic, 
Elisabctk, vol. ccUxi. n. 107. 

Hosted by 


Brother John Lilly. 327 

prayer. And indeed there was reason to do so. For the 
magistrates, making full inquiries the next day, found that 
John had been an apothecary in London for six or seven 
years, and then had been imprisoned in the Clink for eight 
or nine more, and that he had been the person who had 
communicated with me in the Tower, for the gaoler's wife 
after her husband's flight had confessed so much. They 
saw therefore clearly that they had been tricked, and that 
John was not a priest, but a priest's servant ; and they 
now began to have a shrewd suspicion, though rather too 
late, that I had been hidden at the time in the same house 
where they caught him, especially as they found so many 
books and writings which they did not doubt were mina 
They sent therefore to search the house again, but they 
found only an empty nest, for the birds were flown. 

"John was carried to the Tower, and confined there in 
chains. Then they examined him about my escape, and 
about all the places he had been to with me since. He, 
seeing that his dealings with the gaoler were already known 
to them, and desirous (if God would grant him such a 
favour) to lay down his life for Christ, freely confessed 
that it was he who had compassed my deliverance, and 
that he took great pleasure in the thought of having done 
so ; he added that he was in the mind to do the same 
again, if occasion required, and opportunity offered. The 
gaoler, however, he exonerated, and protested that he was 
not privy to the escape. With regard to the places where 
he had been with me, he answered (as he had often been 
taught to do), that he would bring no one into trouble, and 
that he would not name a single place, for to do so would 
be a sin against charity and justice. Upon this they said 
they would not press him any further in words, but would 
convince him by deeds that he must tell them all they 
wanted. John replied: 'It is a thing that, with the help 
of God, I wi!! never do. You have me in your power ; do 
what God permits you.' 

Hosted by 


328 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" Then they took him to the torture- chamber, and hung 
him in the way I have before described, and tortured him 
cruelly for the space of three hours. But nothing could 
they wring from him that they could use either against 
me or against others ; so that from that tijne they gave 
up all hope of obtaining anything from him either by force 
or fear. Consequently they tortured him no more, but 
kept him in the closest custody for about four months to 
try and tire him into compliance. Failing also in this, and 
seeing that their pains availed them nothing, they sent him 
to another prison [Newgate], where prisoners arc usually 
sent who are awaiting execution ; and probably it was 
their intention to deal that way with him, but God other- 
wise determined. For after a long detention here, and 
having been allowed a little communication with other 
Catholic prisoners, he was asked by a certain priest to 
assist him in making his escape. Turning his attention 
therefore to the matter, he found a way by which he 
delivered both the priest and himself from captivity. 

"I ought not, however, to omit an incident' that 
happened during his detention in the Tower, since it is 
in such things that the dealings of God's Providence are 
often to be very plainly recognized. While he was under 
examination about me and others of the Society, Wade, 
who was at that time the chief persecutor, asked him if he 
knew Garnet. John said he did not. 

"'No?' said Wade, with a sour smile; 'and you don't 
know his house in the Spital ^ either, I dare say ! I don't 
mind letting you know,' he continued, 'now that I have 
you safe, that I am acquainted with his residence, and that 
we are sure of having him here in a day or two to keep you 

■ This story is also (old by Fithet Tesimond. Troubles, First Series, 
p. 179- 

' Tali loco qui vocatur SpUdl. M.S. Spitallields, a district without 
Bishopgate, once belonging to the Priory and Hospital of St. Mary Spital, 
founded in "97, in the parish of Si. Bololph. Cunningham's //imiWivA of 

Hosted by 


Brother John Lilly. 329 

company. For when he comes to London he puts up at 
that house, and then we shall catch him.' 

"John knew well that the house named was Father 
Garnet's resort, and was in great distress to find that 
the secret had been betrayed to the enemy; and though 
kept as close as possible, yet he managed to get an 
opportunity of sending some little article wrapped up in 
blank paper to a friend in London. His friend on receiving 
it carefully smoothed out the paper and held it to the fire, 
knowing that John would be likely to communicate by the 
means of orange-juice if he had the opportunity ; and there 
he found it written that this residence of Father Garnet's 
had been betrayed, and that Father Garnet must be warned 
of it. This was instantly done, and in this way the Father 
was saved, for otherwise he would assuredly, as Wade had 
said, have betaken himself to that house in a day or two. 
Now, however, he not only did not go, but took all his 
things away : so that when the house was searched a day 
or two later they found nothing. Had it not been for this 
providential warning from our greatest enemy, they would 
have found plenty: they would have found him, his books, 
altar- furniture, and other things of a similar nature. Father 
Garnet then escaped this time by John's good help, as 
I had done previously. 

"After his escape John came to me; but though I 
desired much to keep him, it was out of the question, for 
he was now so marked a man that his presence would 
have been a continual danger for me and all my friends. 
For I was wont in the country to go openly to the houses 
of Catholic gentlemen, and it might well happen that 
John might come across persons that knew him, and 
would know me through him. Whereas but very few of 
the enemy knew me, for I was always detained in close 
custody, and none but Catholics saw me in prison ; nay, 
such Catholics only as I knew to be specially trustworthy. 
I had indeed been examined publicly In London several 

Hosted by 


330 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

times, but the persons concerned in the examhiatioiis very 
seldom left ton-n ; and if they had done so I should have 
been warned of it instantly, and should have taken good 
care never to trust myself in their neighbourhood. So I 
put John with Father Garnet, to stay in quiet hiding for 
a time ; and when opportunity offered, sent him over to 
Father Persons, that he might obtain, what he had long 
hoped for, admission into the Society. He was admitted 
at Rome, and lived there six or seven years as a lay- 
brother, much esteemed I believe by everybody. I can 
on my part testify about him to the greater glory of 
God, — and that the more allowably because I believe he 
has died in England before this present writing, whither he 
returned with a consumption on him, — I can, I say, testify 
that for nearly six years that he was with me in England, 
and had his hands full of business for me, though he 
had to do with all sorts of men in all sorts of places 
(for while I was engaged upstairs with the gentry or 
nobility, he was associating downstairs with the servants, 
often enough very indifferent characters), yet the whole 
of this time he so guarded his heart and his soul that I 
never found him to have been even in danger of mortal 
sin ; nay, most constantly in his confessions, unless he 
had added some venial sins of his past life, I should not 
have had sufficient matter for the sacrament. Truly his 
was an innocent soul, and endowed also with great pru- 
dence and cleverness. 

"But now that I have brought the history of John 
Lilly to its close, it is time to return to myself, who having 
just escaped one danger, had like to have fallen into a 
second and still greater one, had not God again interposed 
His hand." 

John Lilly entered the Society at Rome on the 2nd 
of February, i602,' in his 37th year. He there remained 
' Bartoli, Ingkillertn, p. 425. 

Hosted by 


Brother John Lilly. 331 

for seven years and then had to leave Rome on account 
of his health. Father Persons in a letter' from Rome to 
Father Thomas Talbot, Master of Novices at St. John's, 
Louvain, dated May 16, 1609, says, " Brother John Lilly 
departed hence yesterday, May 15, together with Father 
Nelson, alias Neville, and George Dingley, all for your 
house, and Brother John cometh expressly for your com- 
panion and manuductor, and must not be diverted from 
that by any excuse, if he have his health ; nor suffered 
to write anything of moment, at least for one year." 

This note Is valuable as throwing light on the date 
of Father Gerard's autobiography, which it shows to have 
been written not before the second half of the year i6og. 
Brother Lilly did not leave Rome till the middle of May, 
and it was then intended by Father Persons that he 
should stay at Louvain. He may have reached Louvain 
in June and have then been found to be so ill that it 
was considered advisable to tr>- at once whether the air 
of England might not be beneficial. When Father Gerard 
wrote he had heard that Lilly had gone to England, but 
he had not heard certain news of his death ; and he had 
also been informed that Brother Hugh Sheldon had 
succeeded him in his place with Father Persons at Rome, 
If, as seems most probable from his reckoning his money 
in florins. Father Gerard was himself at this time at 
Louvain, we see that his Autobiography might have been 
written during the second six months of 1609. That it 
was not written later is plain from the mention of Robert 
Drury's martyrdom, which took place on the 26th of 
February, 160J, and this Father Gerard has said^ was 
" two years ago from this present writing." 

- Stonyhurst MSS. Angl. A. vol. iii. n. 94 ; liKords, vol. i. p. 455. 
' Supra, p. 89. 

Hosted by 




" I MENTIONED just now tliat one of my hostess' servants 
told a friend of his, but an enemy of ours, that I habitually 
resided at his mistress' house, and that at that particular 
time I was in such a house in London. How this house 
was searched, and how they seized my companion and 
my manuscripts, but missed me, I have related. The 
Council therefore, now knowing my residence in the 
country, issued a commission to some justices of the 
peace in that county to search this lady's house for a 
priest. It had in fact begun to be talked of in the 
county that she had taken this grand house in order 
that she might harbour priests there in larger numbers 
and with greater freedom, because it was more private; 
and in this people were not far wrong. 

" Now at this time, that is, soon after my return from 
London, we had driven over to the new house to make 
arrangements for our removal thither, and with the special 
object of determining where to construct hiding-places. 
To this end we had Little John [Brother Nicholas Owen] 
with us, whom I have before mentioned as very clever at 
constructing these places, and whom Father Garnet had 
lent to us for a time for this purpose. Having made 
all the necessary arrangements, we left Little John behind, 
and Hugh Sheldon also to help him, who is now at Rome 
with Father Persons in the room of John Lilly. These 
two, whom we had always found most faithful, were to 

Hosted by 


Great Harrowden, 


construct the hiding-places, and to be the only ones beside 
ourselves to know anything about them. The rest of us 
however returned the same day to our hostess' old house, 
and by the advice of one of the servants, God so disposing 
it, we came back a different way, as being easier for the 
carriage. Had we returned by the way we went, the 
searchers would have come early to the house where we 
were, and most probably catching us entirely unprepared 
would have found what they came to seek. The fact 
was that the road by which we went to the new house 
ran through a town, where some of the enemy were on 
the watch and had seen us pass : but not seeing us return, 
they concluded that we were spending the night at the 
new house, and went there the first thing in the morning 
to search. 

" But the house ivas so large, that although they had 
a numerous body of followers, they were not able to 
surround it entirely, nor to watch ail the outlets so 
narrowly, but what Little John managed to make off 
safely. Hugh Sheldon they caught, but could get nothing 
out of him : so they sent him afterwards to prison at 
Wisbech, and from thence later to some other prison in 
company with many priests, and at last in the same good 
company into exile [in 1605]. 

"When however the justices found that they were 
wrong, and that the lady had returned home the previous 
day, they retraced their steps and came as fast as their 
horses could carry them to the old house. They arrived 
at our dinner-hour, and being admitted by the carelessness 
of the porter, got into the hall before we had any warning. 
Now as the lady of the house was a little indisposed that 
morning, we were going to take our dinner in my room, 
viz. Father Percy, myself, and Master Roger Lee, who had 
been so rudely interrupted before. So when I heard who 
had come, that they were in the great hall, and that his 
lordship him.self, who was indeed but a boy at that time. 

Hosted by 


334 Z;/^ of Father John Gerard. 

could not prevent them from intruding into his room, 
though he was also unwell, I made a pretty shrewd guess 
what they had come about, and snatching up such things 
as wanted hiding I made the best of my way to the 
hiding-place, together with Father Percy and Master Roger 
Lee. For it would not do for this latter to have been 
found here, especially as he had already been found in 
the house in London where I was known to have been, 
and would therefore have given good reason to think that 
I was here also. But we had to pass by the door of the 
room in which the enemy were as yet waiting, and 
exclaiming that they would wait no longer. Nay, one 
of the pursuivants opened the door and looked out ; and 
some of the servants said afterwards that he must have 
seen me as I passed. But God certainly interposed ; for 
it was surely not to be expected from natural causes 
that mea who had come eager to search the house at 
once, and were loudly declaring they would do so, should 
stay in a room where they were not locked in, just as 
long as was necessary for us to hide ourselves, and then 
come forth as if they had been let loose, intrude upon 
the lady of the !iouse, and course through all the -rooms 
like bloodhounds after their prey. I cannot but think 
that this was the finger of God, Who would not that the 
good intentions of this lady should be so soon frustrated, 
but rather wished by so evident a display of His provi- 
dence to confirm her in her determinations, and preserve 
her for many more good works. 

" The authorities searched the house thoroughly the 
whole day, but found nothing. At last they retired dis- 
appointed, and wrote to the Council what they had done. 
We soon discovered who had done the mischief (for he 
had not done it secretly) and discharged him, but without 
unkindness. I gave out also that I should quit the place 
altogether, and for a time we practised particular caution 
in all points. 

Hosted by 


Great Harrotaden. 3-15 

" In consequence of this mishap it became impossible 
for us to remove to the new house. For those same 
justices, who were pestilent heretics, and several others 
m the same county, Puritans, declared they would never 
suffer her ladyship to live at peace if she came there, as 
her only object was to harbour priests. Being deterred 
therefore from that place, but not from her design, she 
set about fitting up her own present residence for the 
same purpose, and built us separate quarters close to the 
old chapel, which had been erected anciently by former 
barons of the family to hear mass in when the weather 
might make it unpleasant to go to the parish church. 
Here then she built a little wing of three stories for 
Father Percy and me. The place was exceedingly con- 
venient, and so free from observation that from our rooms 
we could step out into the private garden, and thence 
through spacious walks into the fields, where we could 
mount our horses and ride whither we would. 

"As we lived here safely and quietly, I frequently left 
Father Percy at home and made excursions to see if \ 
could establish similar centres of operation among other 
famihes; and in this Father Roger Lee (to give him his 
present title) helped me not a little. He first took me 
to the house of a relation of his, who lived in princely 
splendour, and whose father was one of the Queen's 
Council. This young gentleman was a schismatic, that 
IS, a Catholic by conviction, but conforming externally 
to the State religion; and there seemed no hope of 
getting him any further, for he contented himself with 
velkities, and was fearful of ofl^ending his father. His 
wife however, who was a heretic, had begun to listen 
with interest to Cathohc doctrine, so that there was hope 
she might in time be brought into the Church. Their 
house was full of heretic servants, and there was a con- 
stant coming and going of heretic gentry either on business 
or on visit ; it was therefore imperatively necessary that 

Hosted by 


336 Life of Father John Gerard. 

as I could only go there publicly I should well conceal 
my purpose. 

"We paid a visit then to this house, and were made 
welcome, Master Lee for his own sake, as being much 
beloved, and I for his. On the first day I looked in 
vain for an opportunity of a conversation with the lady 
of the house, for there was always some one by. We 
were obliged to play at cards to pass the time, as those 
are wont to do who know not the eternal value of time, 
or at least care not for it. On the next day however, as 
the lady of the house stept aside once to the window to 
set her watch, I joined her there, and after talking a Httle 
about the watch, passed on to matters which I had more 
in view, saying I wished we took as much pains to set 
our souls in order as we did our watches. She looked 
up at me in pure surprise to hear such things from my 
lips; and as I saw I might never get a better opportunity 
than the present I began to open a little further, and 
told her that I had come there with Master Lee specially 
for her sake, hearing from him that .she took interest in 
matters of religion ; and that I was ready to explain the 
Catholic doctrine to her, and satisfy all the doubts she 
could possibly have: moreover, that I could point out 
the way to a height of virtue which she had hitherto 
never dreamt of, for that in heresy she could neither find 
that way, nor any who made account of it. She was 
struck with what I said, and promised to find some 
opportunity for further conversation, when we might speak 
more fully on the matter. I gave her this hint of a higher 
virtue, because she had been represented to me, as she 
really was, as a lady of most earnest and conscientious 

"She found the time according to her promise; all 
her difficulties were removed, and she became a Catholic. 
After reconciling her to the Church, I made some other 
converts in the same house ; then I got her a Catholic 

Hosted by 


Great Harr 

maid, and suggested that she should keep a priest always 
in the house, to which she gladly assented. This was a 
thing that might easily be managed, not indeed as it was 
in our house, where the whole household " was Catholic 
and knew us to be priests; but a priest could well live 
in the upper part of the house, from which all heretics 
might be kept away, especially now that some of the 
servants were Catholics. And indeed the accommodation 
was such that I do not know any place in England 
where a priest who wished to be private could live more 
conveniently. For he could have in the first place a 
fine room to himself, opening on a spacious corridor of 
some eighty paces which looked on a garden most ex- 
pensively laid out : in this corridor moreover was a sepa- 
rate room which would serve excellently as a chapel, and 
another for his meals, with fire-places and every conve- 
nience. It was a pity, I said, that such a place had not 
a resident priest, where the mistress was a devout Catholic, 
and the master no enemy to religion. Her husband indeed 
made no difficulty of receiving priests ; nay, he sometimes 
came to hear me preach, and at last went as far as to 
be fond of dressing the altar with his own hands, and of 
saying the Breviary: yet with all this he still remains 
outside the Ark, liable to be swept off by the waters of 
the deluge when they break forth, for he presumes too 
much on an opportunity of doing penance before death. 
" The lady then readily fell in with my suggestion of 
having a priest in her house ; so I brought thither Father 
Antony Hoskins, a man of great ability, who had lately 
come over from Spain, where he had spent ten years in 
the Society with remarkable success in his studies. Being 
placed there, he did a great deal of good on all sides, and 
remained with them almost up to the present time, when 

' Later on we shaU come across two good specimens of the men of this 
household, Richard RUhardson the buUet and Francis Swetnam in the 

Hosted by 


338 Life of Father John Gerard. 

at length he has been removed and put to greater things.* 
He did not, however, stay .constantly at home, for he is 
a man whom, when once known, many would wish to 
confer with, so that he was forced to go about at times. 
At present there is another Father in the house, a most 
devoted man. But the lady directs herself chiefly by 
Father Percy, who this very week addressed me a letter 
in the following words : ' Such a one ' (meaning this lady 
of whom I have been speaking) ' is going on very well. 
She has offered her heart to Our Lady of Loretto, to serve 
her and her son for ever with all that she possesses ; and 
in token of this she has had made a beautiful heart of 
gold, which she wishes to send to Loretto by the first 
opportunity. We desire, therefore, to hear from you by 
whom she can send this offering.' Thus he writes about 
this lady. In this way, then, by the grace of God, was 
this house, with its domestic church, established and con- 
firmed in the faith." 

The gentleman, whose father was one of the Queen's 
Council, was evidently Sir Francis Fortescue of Salden, 
Knight of the Bath, eldest surviving son of Sir John 
Fortescue,2 Master of the Wardrobe to Queen Elizabeth.3 
The lady of whom Father Gerard is here writing was 
therefore Grace, his wife, daughter of Sir John Manners, 
second son of Thomas, first Earl of Rutland. Father 
Roger Lee was first cousin to Sir Francis Fortescue, their 
mothers Cecily and Amicia being daughters and co- 
heiresses of Sir Edmund Ashfield, knight, of Ewelm, in 
the county of Oxford.'^ The family of the Fortescues of 
Salden continued Catholic for generations. 

" Master Roger also introduced me to some neighbours 

' He became Vice-prefect of the English Mission, residing In that capacily 
at Madrid. Trouble!, Second Series, p. z3l. 

' Troubles, First Series, p. 144. 

3 Sir John died December 23, 1607, rel. 76. Lipscomb's History of Bucks, 
1847, vol. iii. p. 430. 

* Visitations 0/ Oxford, Had Soc. 1871, vol. v. p. 16S. 

. Hosted by 


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of his : among others to a gentleman of the Queen's court.^ 
who had inherited a large estate, and had married a lady 
who was sole heiress to all her father's property [Mary 
Mulshaw, of Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire]. Not one of 
this family was a Catholic, nor even inclined to the Catholic 
faith. The wife's father, who was the head of the house, 
was a thorough heretic, and had his thoughts entirely 
occupied in hoarding money for his daughter, and in- 
creasing her revenues. His son-in-law devoted himself 
wholly to juvenile sports. When in London, he attended 
at Court, being one of the Queen's gentlemen pensioners; 
but in the country he spent almost his whole time in 
hunting and hawking. Pleiice it happened that Master 
Roger Lee, who was a neighbour of his, and fond of similar 
sports, often joined him on such occasions, and brought 
his falcons to hawk in company. We two therefore took 
advantage of this acquaintanceship, and I was introduced 
to this gentleman's house as a friend and intimate of 
Master Lee's. We made frequent visits there, and took 
every opportunity of speaking of Catholic doctrine and 
practice. I took care, however, that Master Lee should 
always speak more frequently and more earnestly than I, 
that no suspicion might arise about my real character. 
Indeed, so far was this gentleman from having the least 
suspicion about me, that he seriously asked Master Lee 
whether he thought I was a good match for his sister, 
whom he wished to see married well, and to a Catholic, 
for he looked on Catholics as good and honourable 

"We had therefore, as I said, frequent converse on 
matters of salvation ; and the wife was the first to listen 
with any fruit, at a time when she was living in the country 
but her husband was up in town. Her parents were now 
dead, and she was mistress of the house, so that we were 
me hand as the 

Hosted by 


340 Life of Father John Gerard. 

able to deal more directly with her. At last she came 
to the point of wishing to be a Catholic, and told me she 
should be glad to speak with a priest. I could scarce 
forbear a smile at this, knowing that she was already 
speaking with one ; I answered, however, that the thing 
might be managed, and that I would speak with Master 
Lee on the subject. 'In the meantime,' I added, 'I can 
teach you the way to examine your conscience, as I myself 
was taught to do it by an experienced priest,' So I told 
Master Roger that as she was now determined and pre- 
pared, he might inform her of my being a priest. This 
he did, but she for some time refused to believe it. saying, 
' How is it possible he can be a priest ? Has he not lived 
among us rather as a courtier ? Has he not played at 
cards with my husband, and played well too, which is 
impossible for those who are not accustomed to the game .' 
Has he not gone out hunting with my husband, and fre- 
quently in my hearing spoken of the hunt in proper terms, 
without tripping, which no one could do but one who has 
been trained to it?' Many other things she adduced to 
show I could not be a priest ; to all of which Master Lee 
replied, ' It is true that he said and did what you say ; and 
unless he had done so, how could he have gained entrance 
here, and conversed with you, and by his conversation 
brought you to the faith ? For if he had presented himself 
as a priest (which he would much prefer, were it feasible), 
how would your father, who was then living, have allowed 
his introduction, or you yourselves.'' 

"She could not but admit the truth of this; yet she 
found it hard to believe that it was so. ' I pray you,' she 
said, ' not to be angry with me, if I ask further whether 
any other Catholic knows him to be a priest but you. — 
Does so-and-so know him?' 

" ' Yes,' he answered, ' and has often gone to confession 
to him.' 

" Then she mentioned other names, and at last that of 

^osted by 


Great Harrowdm. 34.1 

my hostess [Mrs. Vaux], who Hved in the neighbourhood, 
but ten miles off". 

" ' Does she too know him as a priest, and deal with 
him as such ?' 

"'Why,' said Master Lee, 'she not only knows him 
as a priest, but has given herself, and all her household, 
and all that she has, to be directed by him, and takes no 
other guide but him.' 

"Then at length she confessed herself satisfied. 
"'You will find him, however,' added Master Lee, 
'quite a different man when he has put off his present 

" This she acknowledged the next day, when she saw 
me in my cassock and other priestly garments, such as 
she had never before seen. She made a most careful con- 
fession, and came to have so great an opinion of my poor 
powers that she gave herself entirely to my direction, 
meditated great things, which indeed she carried out, and 
carries out still 

"When this matter was thus happily terminated, we 
all three consulted together, how we could induce her 
husband to enter also into St. Peter's net. Now it so 
happened that he had fallen sick in London, and his wife 
on hearing it determined to go and nurse him. We, how- 
ever, went up before her, and, travelling more expedi- 
tiously, had time to deal with him before she came. I 
.spoke to him of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty 
of misery, not only in this life but especially in the next, 
unless we provided against it ; and I showed him that 
we have here no abiding city, but must look for one to 
come. As affliction oftentimes brings sense, so it hap- 
pened in his case ; for we found but little difficulty in 
gaining his good-will. And as he was a man of solid 
sense and excellent heart, he laid a firm foundation from 
the beginning. He prepared himself well for confession 
after being taught the way ; and when he learnt that I 

-posted by 



Life of Father John Gerard. 

was a priest, he felt no such difficulty in believing it as 
his wife had done, because he had known similar cases ; 
but he rather rejoiced at having found a confessor who 
had experience among persons of his rank of life, and 
with whom he could deal at all times without danger of 
its being known that he was dealing with a priest. After 
his rcconciUation he began on his part to be anxious 
about his wife, and wished to consult with us how 
best to bring her to the Catholic religion. We smiled 
inwardly at this, but said nothing at that time, deter- 
mining to wait till his wife came up to town, that we 
might witness how each loving soul would strive to win 
the other. 

" Certainly they were a favoured pair. Both gave 
themselves wholly to God's service, and the husband after- 
wards sacrificed all his property, his liberty, nay, even his 
life for God's Church, as I shall relate hereafter. For this 
was that Sir Everard Digby, knight, of whom later on I 
should have had to say many things, if so much had not 
been already written and published about him and his 
companions. But never in any of these writings has justice 
been done to the sincerity of his intention, nor the circum- 
stances properly set forth which would put his conduct in 
its true light. 

After this they both came to see me at my residence 
in the country. But while there he was again taken ill, 
and that so violently and dangerously, that all the Oxford 
doctors despaired of his life. As, therefore, in all likeli- 
hood he had not long to live, he began to prepare himself 
earnestly for a good death, and his wife to think of a more 
perfect way of life. For some days she gave herself to 
learn the method of meditation, and to find out God's will 
with regard to her future life, how she might best direct it 
to His glory. To be brief, she came to this determination, 
that if her husband should die, she would devote herself 
entirely to good works, observe perpetual chastity and 

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exact obedience ; that as for her property, which would 
be very extensive as they were without children, she would 
spend it all in pious uses according to my direction ; she 
would herself live where and in what style I judged best 
for the advancement of God's honour and the good of her 
own soul ; and she added that her desire was to wear poor 
clothing wherever she might be, and observe all the rules 
of poverty. All this was to be while the persecution might 
last in England. If, however, it should cease, and England 
should become Catholic, then she would give her house 
{a very large and fine one), and all the property her father 
left her, for the foundation of a College of the Society: 
and this would have been amply sufficient for a first-rate 

"This was her resolution, but God had otherwise 
arranged, and for that time happily. For when all the 
Oxford doctors gave up Sir Everard's case as hopeless, I 
who loved him much did not lose heart, but without his 
knowledge I sent for a certain Cambridge doctor, a 
Catholic, and a man of much learning and experience, 
whom I had known to cure cases abandoned by other 
physicians. On his arrival at our house, where Sir Everard 
Digby then was with his wife, after telling him all about 
the patient, I got him to examine the sick man himself 
and learn from him all about his habit of body and general 
constitution. Then I asked him if he thought there was 
any hope. He answered, 'If Sir Everard will venture to 
put himself entirely in my hands, I have good hopes, with 
the help of God, of bringing him round.' 

" The patient on hearing this said to me, ' Since this 
doctor is known to your reverence, and is chosen by you, 
I give myself willingly into his hands.' 

" By this doctor, then, he was cured beyond al! ex- 
pectation, and so completely restored to perfect health, 
that there was not a more robust or stalwart man in a 
thousand. He was a most devoted friend to me, just as 

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344 Life of Father John Gerard. 

if he had been my twin brother. And this name of brother 
we always used in writing to each other. How greatly he 
was attached to me may be seen from the following incident. 
Once when I had gone to a certain house to assist a soul 
in agony, he got to learn that 1 was in great danger there. 
Upon this he at first expressed a terrible distress, and then 
immediately said to his wife, that if I should be taken, he 
was resolved to watch the roads by which I should be 
carried prisoner to London, and take with him a sufficient 
number of friends and servants to rescue me by force from 
those who had me in custody ; and if he should miss me 
on the road, he would accomplish my release one way or 
another, even though he should spend his whole fortune 
in the venture. Such, then, was his attachment to me at 
that time, and this he retained always in the same — nay, 
rather in an increased— degree, to the end of his life, as 
he showed by the way he spoke of me when pleading for 
his life before the public court. At this time, however, as 
I said, he was restored to health ; and he and his wife got 
together a little domestic church after the pattern of one 
in our house, and built a chapel with a sacristy, furnishing 
it with costly and beautiful vestments, and obtained a priest 
of the Society for their chaplain, who remained with them 
to Sir Everard's death. 

"What v/as done by this family was done by others 
also. For many of the Catholic gentry coming to our 
house, and seeing the arrangements and manner of life, 
followed the example themselves, establishing a sort of 
congregation in each of their houses, providing handsome 
altar furniture, making convenient arrangements for the 
residence of priests, and showing especial respect and 
reverence to them. 

" Among those who came to this determination was a 
certain lady resident near Oxford, whose husband was 
indeed a Catholic, but overmuch devoted to worldly pur- 
suits. She, however, gave herself to be ruled and directed 

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Great Harrowden. 


by me as far as she could, having such a husband, I often 
visited them, and was always welcomed by both ; and 
there I established one of our Fathers, Edward Walpole, 
whom I mentioned at an early part of this narrative as 
having left a large patrimony for the sake of following 
Christ our Lord, in the first year of my residence in 

" There was another lady also who had a similar wish : 
she was a relative of my hostess, and she also resided in 
the county of Oxford. Her husband was a knight of very 
large property, who hoped to be created a baron, and still 
hopes for it. This lady came on a visit to our house, and 
wished to learn the way of meditating, which I taught her; 
but as her husband was a heretic it was impossible for her 
to have a priest in her house, as she greatly wished. She 
took, however, the resolution of supporting a priest, who 
should come to her at convenient times. She resolved 
also to give an hour daily to meditation, and one or two 
hours daily to spiritual reading, when she had no guests 
in the house ; also to make a general confession every six 
months, a practice which was followed also by all those 
of whom I have just spoken, and by many others whom 
it is impossible for me to mention individually. On her 
coming to me every six months for her general confession, 
I found that she had never omitted her hour of meditation 
nor her daily examination of conscience, except on one 
occasion when her husband insisted on her staying with 
the guests. Yet she had a large and busy household 
to superintend, and a continual coming and going of 

" It happened on one occasion when I was in this 
lady's house, and was sitting with her after dinner, the 
servants having gone down to get their own dinner, that 
suddenly a guest was shown up who had just arrived. 
This was an Oxford Doctor of Divinity, a heretic of some 
note and a persecutor of Catholics ; his name was Dr. 

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34^ Life of Father John Gerard. 

Abbot.' He had just before this published a book against 
Father Southwell, who had been executed, and Father 
Gerard, who had escaped from the Tower, because these 
two had defended the doctrine of equivocation, which he 
chose to impugn. After this publication the good man 
had been made Dean of Winchester, a post which brought 
him in a yearly income of eight thousand florins [800/.]. 
This man, then, as I said, was shown up, and entered the 
dining-room, dressed in a sort of silk soutane coming down 
to his knees, as is the manner of their chief ministers. 
We were in appearance sitting at cards, though when the 
servants had all left the room we had laid the cards down 
to attend to better things. Hearing, however, this gentle- 
man announced, we resumed our game, so that he found 
us playing, with a good sum of money on the table. 

" I may here mention, that when I played thus with 
Catholics, with the view of maintaining among a mixed 
company the character in which I appeared, I always 
agreed that each one should have his money back after- 
wards, but should say ^.xy Ave Maria for each piece that 
was returned to him. It was on these terms that I fre- 
quently played with my brother Digby and other Catholics, 
where it appeared necessary, so that the bystanders thought 
we were playing for money, and were in hot earnest over it. 

" So also this minister never conceived the slightest 
suspicion of me, but after the first courtesies began to talk 
at a pretty pace : for this is the only thing those chattering 
ministers can do, who possess no solid knowledge, but by 
the persuasive words of human wisdom lead souls astray, 
and subvert houses, teaching things which are not con- 

■ Georee Abbot was appoLnted Dean of Winton in 1599 ; in 1609 Bishop 
of Lichfield and Coventry, from which in about a month he was translated to 
London, and thence in 161 1 to Canterbury. In July 1621 as he was shooting 
at a deer with a crossbow, he shot Ihe keeper, for which King James gave 
him a dispensation. In 1627 he was sequestered from his office, and his 
melropolitan jurisdiction put into commission, but about a year after he was 
restored. He died at Croydon, August 4, 163J, ;et. 71. 

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Great Harrowden. 


venient So he, after much frivolous talk, began to tell 
us the latest news from London ; how a certain Puritan 
had thrown himself down from the steeple of a church, 
having left it in writing that he knew himself to be secure 
of his eternal salvation. About this writing, however, the 
learned Doctor said nothing, but I had heard the parti- 
culars myself from another quarter. 

"'Wretched man!' .said I, 'what could induce him 
thus to destroy body and soul by one and the same act ? ' 

"'Sir,' said the Doctor, learnedly enough and magis- 
terially, 'we must not judge any man.' 

"'True,' I replied, 'it is just possible that as he was 
falling he repented of his sin, inter poiiteiti et fontem, as 
they say : but this is extremely improbable, since the last 
act of the man of which we have any means of judging 
was a mortal sin and deserving of damnation.' 

"'But,' said the Doctor, 'we cannot know whether this 
was such a sin.' 

"'Nay,' I replied, 'this is not left to our judgment; 
it is God's own verdict, when He forbids us under pain 
of Hell to kill any one, a prohibition which applies espe- 
cially to the kiUing of ourselves, for charity begins from 

" The good Doctor being here caught, said no more 
on this point, but turned the subject, and said smiling, 
' Gentlemen must not dispute on theological matters.' 

" 'True,' said I, ' we do not make profession of knowing 
theology ; but at least we ought to know the law of God, 
though our profession is to play at cards.' 

" The lady with whom I was playing, hearing him 
speak to me in this way, could scarce keep her counten- 
ance, thinking within herself what he would have said if 
he had known who it was he was answering. The Doctor, 
however, did not stay much longer. Whether he departed 
sooner than he at first intended, I know not; but I know 
that we much preferred his room to his company." 

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348 Life of Father John Gerard. 

The lady, in whose house Father Gerard met Dr. Abbot, 
must have been Agnes Lady Wenman, wife of Sir Richard 
Wenman, of Thame Park, not far from Oxford. Sir 
Richard was knighted in 1596 for his conduct at Cadiz, 
and attained the object of his ambition very long after 
this was written, for he was made a peer of Ireland in 1628 
as Baron and Viscount Wenman. Agnes his wife came 
of a Catholic family, being the daughter of Sir George 
Fermor of Easton Neston in Northamptonshire. 

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D 1603. 

" I MUST now return to London, and relate what happened 
after John Lilly was taken, and the gentleman imprisoned 
with whom I rented my London house. This house being 
now closed to me, I sought out another, but on a different 
plan. I did not now Join in partnership with any one, 
because I was unwilling to be in the house of one known 
to be a Catholic. I managed that this new house should 
be hired by a nephew of Master Roger Lee, whom with 
his wife I had reconciled to the Catholic Church ;» and as 
he was not known to be a Catholic, the house was entirely 
free from all suspicion. I had the use of this house for 
three years, and during that time it was not once searched ; 
nor even before the Queen's death, though there were 
many general searches made, and the prisons were choked 
with Catholics, did they ever come to this house. 

" I had a man to keep the house who was a schismatic, 
but otherwise an honest and upright person. When I was 
in residence, this man provided me with necessaries ; and 
when I was away, he managed any business for me 
according to my written directions. In all appearance 
he was the servant of the gentleman who owned the house, 
and so he was esteemed and called by the neighbours; 
and since as a schismatic he frequented their churches, 
they entertained no suspicion of him, nor of the house. 

■ Probably Sir Edmund Lenthall of Lachford in Oxfordshire, whose 
niollier was Eleanor Lee. His wife was a Stonor, 

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350 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" For myself, when I came to town, I always entered 
the house after dark, and in summer time scarce ever went 
out while I remained there. But my friends would come 
to visit mc by ones and twos on different days, that no 
special attention might be drawn to the house from the 
number of visitors. Nor did they ever bring any servants 
with them, though some were of very high rank, and 
usually went about with a large number of attendants. 
By these means I provided better for them and for myself, 
and was able to continue longer in this way of life. 

" It was from this house, soon after my taking posses- 
sion of it, that Master Roger Lee and three others went 
to the noviceship, all of whom are now priests and labourers 
in the Society. The only one of them who is not now 
actually labouring is Father Strange, who is at present 
suffering imprisonment in the Tower of London, where 
he has had to undergo many grievous tortures, and a long 
solitary confinement. This solitude, indeed, if we look 
only to his natural disposition, cannot but be very irksome 
and oppressive to him ; but he is not solitary who has God 
always present with him, consoling him, and supplying in 
an eminent degree and full abundance all those comforts 
which we are wont to go begging for from creatures. This 
Father Strange used to come to me when I was a prisoner 
in the Clink, He was a Catholic before I knew him ; and 
seeing that he was a youth of quick parts and good dis- 
position, an only son and heir to a fair property, so that 
he could well associate with gentlemen, I got him to come 
often to me, and at length to make the Spiritual Exercises. 
In the course of these he saw good reason to come to the 
resolution of following Christ our Lord, and entering the 
Society. Till he could make full arrangements for this, 
and sell his property, I got him to reside in the same 
house with Father Garnet, that the good spirit he had 
imbibed might not evaporate, but be rather increased. He 
remained with Father Garnet nearly two years before he 

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London. 351 

was able to disentangle himself entirely from his worldly 
goods : at length cutting the last ties which bound his 
bark to the English shore, he passed across the channel 
a free man. 

" Before he started, however, he brought me a friend 
and companion of his who is now Father Hart^ He also 
is an only son, and his father {a rich man) is, I think, still 
alive. I did not give him the Exercises, but I met him 
from time to time (for I was free now), and instead of the 
Exercises I taught him the method of daily meditation. 
I gave him also some pious books to read, among others 
Father Jerome Flatus ; and it was from this last that he 
acquired the spirit of religion and of the Society. He is 
now a very useful labourer in England, and well suited to 
converse and deal with gentlemen, to whose society he 
was accustomed before he left the world. 

" The third was the present Father Thomas Smith, who 
for these last four years has resided at St. Omers. He 
was a Master of Arts of Oxford ; and I found him engaged 
as tutor to the young Baron, the son of my hostess : so 
that I had many good opportunities of conversing freely 
with him. But as he was a schismatic, that is, though a 
Catholic by conviction, yet lingering in heresy from in- 
firmity of will, I found it impossible to move him, or even 
stir him from his present state of mind. Such people, in 
fact, who can truly say with the Prophet, ' My belly 
cleaveth to the ground,' are far more difficult to gain than 
full heretics, as we find by daily experience. He was 
often present at my private exhortations, and also at my 

■ Father Walpole in a letter to Father Persons dated the 291h of November, 
1590, says, "Hart is come to me. one sent from Father Southwell to be 
admitted Coadjutor. If Father Provincial should make difficulty here, the 
Province being charged, I pray you write your advice, for he is a very fit man, 
of forty years, long time companion to priests, lastly to Mr. Gerard, great 
virtue, no impediment." Father WalpaUs Letters, edited by Dr, Jessopp. 
The date is enough to show that the Hart who, as Father Walpole shows, 
wished to be a lay-brother is not the same person as Father William Hart, of 
whom Father Gerard speaks. 

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352 Life of Father John Gerard. 

public sermons, but he slept a heavy and lethargic slumber, 
so that one might easily recognize the power of the strong 
man armed keeping his house in peace. However, a 
stronger than he came upon him, and despoiled him, and 
bound him, and took away his armour in which he trusted. 
And this stronger One who overcame him was no other 
than the Child Who was born and given to us. For on 
the night of our Lord's Nativity, while the whole family 
were celebrating the feast, he alone of all remained in bed ; 
but he could not sleep, and began to feel an overpowering 
shame, seeing that even the three boys whom he taught 
had risen and were engaged in praising God, thus teaching 
their master, not by words, but by deeds. Roused, there- 
fore, interiorly by the cradle-cries of the Divine Infant, 
he began to think with himself how much time he had 
hitherto lost, and how the very boys and the unlearned 
were entering into God's Kingdom before him. So, trem- 
bling and eager to lose no more time, he rose at once, 
came to the chapel door and knocked, and asked to speak 
to me. As I was engaged, I sent him a message, asking 
him to wait till the morning, when I should be at his 
service. But he would not Usten, and sent back word that 
he must speak with me at once. I therefore bade him 
have a little patience, and when I had finished Matins, I 
came out to him, dressed in my alb as I was. When he 
saw me he threw himself at my feet, and said, with the 
tears streaming down his cheeks, 'Oh, Father, I beseech 
you for the love of God to hear ray confession.' 

" I wondered at the strangeness of the thing, and bade 
him be of good heart — that I would hear him at a proper 
time, but that he must first prepare himself well for it. 

" * Oh, Father,' he cried, ' I have put it off too long 
already ! Do not bid me delay any more.' 

"'It is well,' I replied, 'that you feel the necessity of 
instant diligence. But this is not delaying, to take a fair 
and moderate time for preparation. Nay, the confession 

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London. 353 

and absolution would not be good, if preparation and 
examination are omitted, when they might easily have 
been made.' 

" ■ Well, but,' urged he, ' I may die before the time of 

" ' Then I will answer for you before God,' I said : ' do 
you in the meanwhile conceive in your heart a true sorrow 
for having offended our good Lord.' 

" Upon this he yielded, and retired still weeping ; and 
after one or two days' diligent examination of conscience, 
he made his confession, and being reconciled, celebrated 
with us the conclusion of the feast, the beginning of which 
he had lost. 

" These three, then, of whom I have spoken, crossed 
over into Belgium with Master Lee, and from thence 
passing on to Rome, made their noviceship at Saint 
Andrew's, all except Father Hart. He was admitted 
rather later, but was sent into England eadier than the 
others on some business, and is a very useful labourer 

"When I was in London, I did not allow every one 
to come to my house whose desire to converse with me 
I was willing to gratify; but I would sometimes, especiaiiy 
after dark in winter time, go myself to their houses. On 
one occasion I was asked by a certain lady to her house 
to hear the confession of a young nobleman attached to 
the Court, who was a dear friend of her husband's. Her 
husband was also a Catholic and well known to me : 
though quite a young man, he had been one of the prin- 
cipal captains in the Irish War. And the young nobleman 
just mentioned was a baron, and son to an Irish earl, and 
at this present writing he has himself succeeded to the 
earldom on his father's death. This young baron, then, 
wished to make his confession to me. As I had not 
known him before, I put a few questions to him, according 
to my wont, beforehand. I asked him, therefore, if he 

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354 Life of Father John Gerard. 

was prepared at once. He answered that he was. I then 
asked how often in the year he was accustomed to go to 
the sacraments. ' Twice or thrice in the year,' he said. 

" ' It wouid be better,' said I, ' to come more frequently, 
and tlien less preparation would be necessary. As it is- 
I should advise you to take a few days for the exact and 
diligent examination of your conscience, according to the 
method that I will show you ; then you Will come with 
greater fruit, and with greater satisfaction to yourself and 
to me. And for the future I would recommend a more 
frequent use of the holy sacraments.' And I brought 
some reasons for my advice. 

" He listened to me very patiently, and when I had 
finished, he replied, ' I will do in future what you recom- 
mend, and I would willingly follow your counsel at present, 
if it were possible ; it is, however, impossible to put off 
my present confession.' 

" ' Why is it impossible ? ' I asked. 
"'Because,' he replied, 'to-morrow I shall be in cir- 
cumstances of danger, and I desire to prepare myself by 
confession to-day.' 

■"What danger is this,' I asked again, 'to which you 
will be exposed ? ' 

'"There is a gentleman at Court,' he said, 'who has 
grievously insulted me, so that I was compelled, in defence 
of my honour, to challenge him to single combat ; and 
we meet to-morrow at an appointed spot at some distance 
from town,' 

"'My iord,' I exclaimed, 'to approach the sacrament 
in such a frame of mind, is not to prepare yourself for 
danger, nor to cleanse your soul (though I doubt not that 
it was with a good intention you proposed it), but rather 
to sully your soul more than ever, to affront God still 
further, and render Him still more your enemy. For to 
come to confession with a determination of taking ven- 
geance is to put an obstacle to the grace of the sacrament ; 

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and moreover this particular action on which you are 
resolved is not only a sin, but is visited with excommuni- 
cation. I urge you, therefore, to give up this intention ; 
you will be able to preserve your honour by some other 
way. Nay, the honour you think to preserve by this, is 
not real honour, but merely the estimation of bad men 
founded on bad principles ; men who exalt their own 
worldly ideas above the law and honour of God.' 

"'It is impossible to withdraw now,' he said, 'for the 
thing is known to many, and has been taken even to the 
Queen, who has expressly forbidden us to pursue the 
matter any further.' 

"'Well, then,' said I, 'you have the best possible 
reason for laying aside the quarrel, namely, obedience to 
the Queen's behest. Moreover, you must remember that 
you are known for the intimate friend of the Earl of Essex, 
and that if you overcome your adversary, the Queen (if it 
be only to spite the Earl) will certainly visit you with 
some heavy punishment for having disregarded her com- 
mands ; but if you should kill him, unquestionably she 
will take your life. On the other hand, if you should be 
vanquished, what becomes of the honour you wish to 
defend ? And if you should be slain in that state of soul 
in which you go to the fight, you go straight to eternal 
fire and everlasting shame : for while you are defending 
your body from your adversary's sword, you forget to 
parry the mortal thrust that the devil is aiming at your 

" But spite of all I could say, the fear of the world, 
which is fatally powerful with men of this rank, prevailed, 
and his reply was, ' I implore you. Father, to pray for me, 
and to hear my confession, if you possibly can.' 

" ' Certainly I cannot hear you,' I said, ' for that honour 
which you worship is not necessary to you, in the sense in 
which it is to those who are obliged to take their part in 
a war. Besides, you are the challenger, and you took this 

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35^ Life of Father John Gerard. 

unlawful course when it was possible for you to follow 
some other method of vindicating yourself, and so what- 
ever necessity there is for pursuing the matter has been 
created by yourself. But this is what I will do: I will 
give you from my reliquary a particle of the Holy Cross, 
enclosed with an Agnus Dei, and you shall wear it upon 
you. Perhaps God may have mercy on you for the sake 
of this, and afford you time for penance. Understand, 
however, I do not give it you in order to encourage you 
in your bad purpose, but that you may wear it with all 
reverence and respect, so that should you come into danger 
(which certainly I do not desire) God may be moved to 
preserve your life, in the consideration of the good will 
you have of honouring His Cross.' 

" He took my gift very thankfully and reverentially, 
and had it sewed inside his shirt over his heart ; for it was 
arranged they should fight in their shirts without cuirass. 
It happened, God so allowing it, that his adversary made 
a lunge at his heart and pierced his shirt, but did not 
touch his skin. He on his side wounded and prostrated 
his enemy, then gave him his life and came off victorious. 
He then came to me in high spirits, and toM me how he 
had been preserved by the power of the Holy Cross ; then 
he thanked me very earnestly, and promised to be more 
on his guard in future. The Queen soon after took a 
fancy to this young nobleman, and kept him close to her 
at Court for a time. But tiring soon of this sort of life, 
at his father's death he married the widow of the Earl of 
Essex. She was a heretic when he married her, but he 
soon made her a Catholic ; and they both live now as 
Catholics in Ireland, as I hear." 

Richard de Burgh, commonly called Richard of Kinsale 
from his conduct at that place, Baron of Dunkellin, suc- 
ceeded his father as fourth Earl of Clanricarde, I^Iay 20, 
1601. He was subsequently made Earl of St. Albans, 
and died November 12, 1635, He married Frances, 

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London. 357 

daughter and heiress of Sir Francis Walsingham, widow 
of Robert second Earl of Essex. Thus Wabinghain's 
only child became a CathoHc. 

"That knight, moreover, who introduced this young 
baron to me, followed my counsel at that time, and after 
devoting several days to a diligent examination of con- 
science, made a general confession of his whole life, with 
a view of reforming it for the future. A little later he was 
desirous of returning to the Irish wars, but as I was in 
doubt whether this was lawful in conscience, he promised 
me to resign his appointment and return to England, if 
the priests there, to whom I referred him as living on the 
spot, and therefore having a closer knowledge of the cir- 
cumstances, decided that it was unlawful. Soon after his 
arrival in Ireland, in a certain fight, while he was bravely 
mounting a wall and animating his men to follow, he was 
struck dead by a musket ball. He had, however, before 
the fight carefully written me a letter and sent it off, in- 
forming me that he had consulted the priests in the 
country, and had received this answer, that it was lawful 
to fight against the Catholic party, because it was not clear 
to all why they had taken up arms. 

" After his death, a remarkable incident occurred which 
I will relate. His wife, pious soul, who never had the 
least idea of her husband's death, about that time heard 
every night some one knocking at her chamber door, and 
that so loudly as to wake her. Her maids heard it too, 
but on opening the door there was no one to be seen. 
She therefore got a priest to stay with her and her maids 
till the usual time of the knocking ; and when the same 
noise and knocking at the door were heard, the priest 
himself went to the door, but found no one. This knocking 
went on till such time as news of her husband's death 
reached her : as if it had been a warning from his angel 
to pray for his soul," 

It does not seem rash to assume that the knight 

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358 Life of Father John Gerard. 

here mentioned was Sir Henry Bagenal.i wlio was born 
at Carlingford in Ireland, August 3, 1556. He was 
Marshal of Queen Elizabeth's armies in Ireland for 
many years. He married Eleanor, third daughter of 
Sir John Savage of Roct Savage, Knight. Sir Henry 
Bagenal was killed at Elackwater in Ireland, August 14. 
1598, in an attack upon that fort or pass. His widow 
afterwards married Sir Sackville Trevor, fourth son of 
Sir John Trevor of Trevorllyn, Knight. We have the 
following mention of his death in Chamberlain's Z.Wot.- 
"■August 30, 1598. We have had a great blow in Ireland ; 
Sir Henry Bagenal the Marshal, went with 3,500 foot 
and 300 horse to relieve Blackwater fort, distressed by 
Tyrone ; the enemy between 8,000 and 10,000 strong 
attacked him and he was slain with 16 captains and over 
700 soldiers." 

" While I was in London," Father Gerard continues, 
"the opportunity often presented itself of visiting men of 
rank, confirming them in the faith, directing them, and also 
of converting some ; for every one tried to bring the members 
of his family and his friends to me. One asked me to mount 
on horseback and ride to meet a friend of his, whom he 
would throw in my way at a particular spot two miles out 
of London. This was a man of wealth and inHnence, and 
decidedly the principal man of all the county where he 
lived He was of the rank next below that of baron' (for 
he was not an earl nor a baron), and was wholly given up 
to vanities. I met him, and he, being told who I was 
(for he was anxious to speak with a priest), saluted me 
kindly ; but at the same time was unwilling to recognize 
me. I put on the character of a Catholic who wished that 
all men were Catholics, and said that I had heard that he 
was a good friend to Catholics, but not to himself, because 

■ Collins' Pe«-ngf cf England, Supplement to ihe fiflh edition, p. 126 
' Probably of one of the highe. grades of knighlhood, as a KnlRht Ban- 
neret TTie dignity of Baronet did not exist before l6t I. 

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Londojz. 359 

he was not a Catholic ; and so we fell upon the question 
whether this was necessary for salvation, and this I proved 
■ in such manner that he did not deny it. But I saw that 
the greatest difficulty lay in withdrawing his will from the 
pleasures of the world, and therefore I directed my attack 
against that quarter, and by God's aid I overthrew the 
walls, and laid open a way for the entry of good and 
sound counsels into his heart ; insomuch that he who had 
up to that time conversed with me as with some man of 
rank, a friend of his friend, at last said, ' You shall cer- 
tainly be my confessor.' Then we appointed a time and 
place where this business might be attended to without 
inconvenience or hurry; and after a few days he came 
to my friend's house near London, and there he abode 
until after fit preparation he made his confession. Thence- 
forth he became one of my principal benefactors : for every 
year, until I left England, he gave me a thousand florins 
[lOo/.], besides horses, and other occasional necessaries. 

" The same person also brought to me his brother-in- 
law, who was son and brother to an earl, and himself heir 
to the earldom. I met him also riding on horseback, and 
at exactly the same spot, and before we separated God 
touched his heart too, and gave him the grace of conver- 
sion. He was fully satisfied on all points relating both to 
faith and morals, and a few days after I received him into 
the Church, and I have great confidence that he will, 
please God, become one of its chief supports. I adminis- 
tered the sacraments to these and others like them in my 
own house, and on that account I kept it from public 
notice, that it might not be thought a Catholic house. I 
thus secured an asylum in London, where the peril of 
priests, and myself in particular, is ever greatest and most 
pressing ; and men of rank and influence were able to be 
there without fear of any sudden and unexpected visitation, 
and so come to visit mc with greater confidence. I learned 
by experience that this care of mine was very pleasing to 

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360 Life of Father John Gerard. 

them, and profitable by the security gained both for them 
and myself. 

" Having held this house for three years, I let it to a 
Catholic friend, and took another house nearer the prin- 
cipal street in London, cailed the Strand. Since most of 
my friends lived in that street, they were thus able to visit 
me more easily, and I them. After my removal I dis- 
covered how entirely free from suspicion was the house 
which I had left, and in which I had dwelt for three years ; 
for the servant who kept my house, sent for a gardener 
with whom he had been acquainted while living in the 
other house (for the garden of the new house needed to 
be put in order), and the gardener remarked to him, ' Some 
Papists have come to Jive in your old house,' as though 
they who had previously dwelt there had been good Pro- 

"This new house was very suitable and convenient, 
and had private entrances on both sides, and I had con- 
trived in it some most excellent hiding-places ; and there 
I should long have remained, free from ail peril or even 
suspicion, if some friends of mine, while I was absent from 
London, had not availed themselves of the house rather 
rashly.' It remained, however, in the same state up to the 
time of the great and terrible disturbance of the Powder 
Plot, as I shail hereafter shortly mention. 

" Meantime my friends brought me another who was 
heir to a barony, and is himself now a peer, and by God's 
grace I persuaded him to take on his shoulders the yoke 
of the law of Christ and of the Catholic faith, and made 
him a member of the Church. Another whom I had 
previously known in the world, and had seen to be wholly 
devoted to every kind of vanity, fell sick. He had 

■ This is evidently the "house in Ihe fields behind St. Clement's Inn," 
as Guy Fawkes eills it~"behind St. Clement's," as it appears in Winter's 

Hosted by 


London. 361 

abounded with riches and pleasures, and passed his days 
in jollity, destined, however, to fall thence in a moment, 
had not God patiently waited and in a suitable time led 
him to penance. He then was lying sick of a grievous 
illness, but yet had not begun to think of death. I heard 
that he was sick, and obtained an entry into his chamber 
at eleven o'clock at night, after the departure of his friends- 
He recognized me, and was pleased at my visit I ex- 
plained why I had come, and warned him to think seriously 
of the state of his soul, and, instead of a Judge, render 
God a Friend and most loving Father, however much he 
might have wasted all his substance. So, then, weakness 
of body opened the ears of his heart, and in an acceptable 
time God heard us, and in the day of salvation helped us ; 
insomuch that he offered himself as at once ready to make 
his confession. I, however, said that I would return on 
the following night, and advised him meantime to procure 
that there should be read to him by a friend, whom I 
named. Father Lewis of Grenada's Explanation of the 
Commandments : that after each Commandment he should 
occupy some little time in reflection, and call to mind how, 
and how often, he had offended against that command- 
ment ; that then he should make an act of sorrow re- 
garding each, and so go to the next. He promised that 
he would do so, and I promised that I would return on 
the following night. This I did, and heard his confession ; 
I gave him all the assistance I could, for the time had 
been short, especially for a sick man, to prepare such a 
confession, but he dared no longer defer it, although he 
still seemed tolerably strong. I advised him to use the 
utmost care in discharging all his debts, which were great, 
through the extravagant expenditure in which he had 
indulged : I also exhorted him to redeem his sins by alms. 
■ He did both by the will he made the following day, and 
bequeathed a large sum for pious uses, which as I heard 
was honestly paid. 

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362 Life of Father John Gerard. 

"I also bade him prepare for the Holy Communion 
and Extreme Unction against the following night, and to 
have some pious book read to him meantime. He not 
only did what I advised, but exhorted all that came to 
visit him on the following day to repent at once of their 
former life, and not defer their am.endment, as he had 
done : ' Do not,' he said, ' looJc for the mercy which I have 
found, for this is to be presumptuous and to irritate God ; 
for I have deserved Hell a thousand times on this account' 
And much more to the same effect did he speak, with so 
much earnestness and freedom, that all marvelled at so 
sudden a change. They asked him to hide the cross 
which he had hanging from his neck (for I had lent him 
my own cross full of relics for him to kiss, and exercise 
acts of reverence and love) ; but he answered, ' Hide it ! 
Nay, I would not hide it, even if the most bitter heretics 
were here. Too long have I refrained from profession of 
the Catholic faith, and now, if God gave me life, I would 
publicly profess myself a Catholic :' so that all marvelled 
and were much edified and moved at his words. He spoke 
thus to all the peers and great men that visited him. His 
conversion thus became publicly known, and many of the 
courtiers afterwards spoke of it On the third night of 
my visiting him according to my promise, he again con- 
fessed with great expressions of sorrow, and begged for 
the sacrament of Extreme Unction, and when he received 
it, himself arranged for me more conveniently to reach 
the different parts of his body, just as though he had been 
a Catholic many years. Seeing him in such good dis- 
positions, I asked whether he did not put all his trust In 
the- merits of Christ and in the mercy of God. 'Surely!' 
said he; 'did I not do so, and did not that mercy give 
me salvation, I should have been condemned to the pit 
of Heil : in myself I find no ground of hope, but rather - 
of trembling. But I feel great hope in the mercy and 
goodness of God, Who has so long waited for me, and 

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London. 363 

now has called me when I deserved — aye, and thought 
of— anything but this ! ' Then he took my hand and said, 
'Father, I cannot express how much I am indebted to 
you, for you were sent by God to give me this happiness.' 
I found, moreover, that he had no temptation against 
faith, but most firmly believed and confessed every point, 
and I saw most clearly that God had poured into his soul 
the habits of many virtues. Then I erected an altar in 
his chamber with the ornaments which I had brought, and 
I said mass, while he assisted with great devotion and 
comfort. I afterwards gave him the Viaticum, which he 
received with the utmost reverence. When I had finished 
everything. I gave him some advice that would be useful 
should he fall into his agony before my return, and I left 
him full of consolation. Now, see the providence of God : 
but a few hours after my departure, as he was persevering 
in petitions for mercy, and in acts of thanksgiving for the 
mercy he had received, he rendered up his soul to God. 
But before his death, he asked the bystanders whether 
certain purple and red robes could be applied to the use 
of the altar, which he had received from the King when 
he was created a Knight of the Order of the Bath. The 
investiture of this Order takes place only at the coronation 
of the King, and the knights enjoy precedence before all 
other knights except those of the most Noble Order of 
the Garter, almost all of whom are earls or other peers. 
He, however, was a Knight of the Bath, and he wished 
that the robes with which he had been invested at the 
Coronation should be devoted to the use of the altar ; for 
he said that he had derived great comfort from seeing my 
vestments, which were merely light and portable, but yet 
handsome, of red silk embroidered with silver lace. So 
after his death they gave me his suit of the peculiar robes 
of that Order, and out of them I made sets of vestments 
of two colours, one of which the College of St. Omers 
still possesses. Thus is the pious desire of the deceased 

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364 Life of Father John Gerard. 

fulfilled, in whose conversion I could not fail to see God's 
great goodness and providence." 

A careful examination of the list of the Knights of 
the Bath created at the coronation of James I., given 
by Nichols in his Royal Progresses, has established a 
strong probability that the knight whose death is here 
recorded by Father Gerard was Sir William Browne of 
Walcot, who died in 1603, the very year of James' 

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" About the same time I received into the Church a lady, 
the wife of a certain knight ; who is at the present day a 
very good and useful friend of our Fathers. Her husband 
was at this time a heretic, bat his brother had been 
brought by me, through the Spiritual Exercises, to despise 
the world and follow the counsels of Christ : he introduced 
me to his sister, and after one or two interviews she 
embraced the Catholic faith, although she was well assured 
that she would incur great losses as soon as it should 
become known to her husband, as in truth it came to 
pass. For he first tried caresses, then threats, and left no 
means unemployed to shake her resolution, insomuch that 
for a long time she had nothing to expect or hope but to 
be separated from her husband, and stripped of all the 
goods of this world, that so in patience she might possess 
her soul. When her husband was on her account deprived 
of the public employment which he held, she bore it with 
great fortitude, and remained ever constant and even in 
mind : at length by her virtue and her patience she 
rendered her husband a friend to Cathohcs, and afterwards 
himself a Catholic. He was reconciled by the ministry of 
Father Walpole, to whom I had recommended her on my 
leaving England, 

" There were many other conversions, which I cannot 
mention separately, for I have already carried to too great 
length the narrative of these events, which are truly very 
insignificant if they are compared with the actions of 

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366 Life of Father John Gerard. 

others. But one case I cannot pass over, which gave me 
especial pleasure for the sake of the person concerned ; for 
I do not know that any one was ever more dear to me. 

" Sir Everard Digby, of whom I have spoken above, 
had a friend for whom he felt a peculiar affection ; he had 
often recommended him to me, and was anxious to give 
mc an opportunity of making his acquaintance and gaining 
him over, if it possibly might be : but because he he!d 
an office in the Court, requiring daily attendance about 
the King's person, so that he could not be absent for long 
together, our desire was long delayed. 

"At last Sir Everard met his friend, while we were 
both together in London ; and he took an opportunity of 
asking him to come at a certain time to his chamber, to 
play at cards, for these are the books gentlemen in 
London study both night and day. He promised to come, 
and on his arrival he did not find a party at play, but only 
us two sitting and conversing very seriously ; so Sir 
Everard asked him to sit down a little, until the rest 
should arrive. Then in an interval of silence Sir Everard 
said, ' Wc two were engaged in a very serious conversation, 
in fact concerning religion. You know,' he said, addressing 
the visitor, 'that I am friendly to Catholics, and to the 
Catholic faith ; I was nevertheless disputing with this 
gentleman, who is a friend of mine, against the Catholic 
faith, in order to see what defence he could make ; for he 
is an earnest Catholic, as I do not hesitate to tell you.' 
Then turning to me he begged me not to be vexed that he 
betrayed me to a stranger. 'And I must say,' he con- 
tinued, 'he so well defended the Catholic faith that I could 
not answer him, and I am glad that you have come to . 
help me.' 

"The visitor was young and confident, and trusting in 
his own great abilities, expected to carry everything 
before him, so good was his cause, and so lightly did he 
esteem me, as he afterwards confessed. So he began to 

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Sir Oliver Manners. 367 

allege many objections to the arguments before used. I 
waited with patience until he ceased speaking, and then 
answered in few words. He urged his points, and 50 we 
argued one against the other for a short hour's space. 
Afterwards I began to explain my view more fully, and to 
confirm it with texts of Holy Scripture and passages from 
the Fathers, and with such reasons as came to my mind. 
And I felt, as I often did, God supplying me words as I spoke 
on His behalf in great might, not for the sake of me that 
spoke, nor for any desert of mine, but just as He gives milk 
to a mother when she has an infant who needs to be fed 
with milk. My young friend was of a docile nature, and 
could no way bear to speak against the truth when he saw 
it, so that he listened in silence, and God was meantime 
speaking to his heart with a voice far more powerful and 
efficacious. God, too, gave him ears to hear, so that the 
word fell not upon stony ground, nor among thorns, but 
into good soil, yea, very good, that yielded by God's grace 
a hundredfold in its season. So before he left he was fully 
resolved to become a Catholic, and took with him a book 
to assist him in preparing for a good confession, which he 
made before a week had passed. And from that time it 
was not enough for him to walk in the ordinary path of 
God's commandments, but God prepared him for higher 
things ; and whatever counsels I gave him he received 
with eagerness, and retained not only in a faithful memory, 
but in a most ready wilL He began to use the daily 
examination of conscience, and even learned the method of 
meditation, and made a meditation every day. He was 
forced to rise very early to do this before he went to the 
King, which in summer was at break of day, for the King 
went hunting every day, and he, by duty of his office, was 
necessarily present at the royal breakfast. He would more- 
over so with his ivhole soul devour pious books, that he 
always had one in his pocket ; and in the King's Court 
and in the Presence Chamber, while courtiers and ladies 

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368 Life of Father John Gerard. 

were standing around, you might see him turn himself to a 
window, and there read a chapter of Thomas a Kempis' 
Imitation of Christ, a book with which he was most inti- 
mate ; and after he had read it, you might see him turn in 
body but not in mind towards the others, for there he 
would stand rapt in thought, while the rest perhaps were 
supposing that he was admiring the beauty of some lady, 
or thinking over the means to climb to groat honours. In 
truth, he had no need to take particular pains about this, 
for in the first place he was son and brother to an Earl, 
and moreover the place and office which he filled were 
very honourable, giving him the ear of the King every 
day. His wit could not fail to distinguish favourable 
opportunities for gaining his requests, and in fact the King 
had given him an office which he afterwards sold, but 
which, had he kept it, would have brought him in more 
than ten thousand florins a year []. In short, such 
was his position that he would undoubtedly have soon 
risen to great honours ; for he made himself acceptable 
to all, and was not a little beloved, insomuch that after he 
had left the Court and given up all hope of worldly 
honour, I heard it said by some persons of the greatest 
eminence and experience in the ways of the Court, that 
they had never in forty years' space known any one so 
highly valued and beloved in every quarter. 

" But, what is far more important, he was beloved in 
the Court of the King of Kings, and inspired to desire 
and seek after greater and more abiding blessings. So he 
conceived the wish of trying the Spiritual Exercises, in the 
course of which he determined to desert the Court, and 
devote himself to those pursuits which would render him 
most pleasing to God and most profitable to his neigh- 
bour : so with as little delay as possible he made such a 
disposition of his goods as would enable him freely to 
make his escape from England. He then, to the surprise 
of all, asked and obtained the King's leave to go to Italy, 

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Sir Oliver Manners. 369 

where he still resides, and he is so well known to our 
Fathers that there is no need to write anything more 
concerning him ; but this I can say, that wherever I have 
known him to have been, he has left men filled with great 
esteem for him, and expectation of yet greater things. 

" Besides Sir Everard Digby, he had another friend, a 
man of much influence, and heir to a large estate, and of 
great talents, but wholly devoted to the world. He brought 
this friend to me, and by my agency caused him to become 
a Catholic. I knew also two young ladies of rank, who 
were so deeply attached to him that I doubt not they 
would have preferred him to the greatest lord in England. 
One was attached to the Court, and had an honourable 
post about the Queen's person ; the other, who dwelt in 
the country, was of a noble Catholic family. He himself 
introduced the first to me, and by my ministry rendered 
her a Catholic He then begged her to set her love on a 
higher object, on God, to Whom the chief love of all was 
due, and he added, that he had resolved never to love any 
woman in this world except with the love of charity, and 
that he would never enter into wedlock. The second he 
persuaded to become a nun i she is still in religion, and 
making good progress. I feel confident that he has been 
chosen and reserved to be the instrument of bringing 
many souls to follow the counsels of Christ by word and 
example, and to help ours in many respects." 

In some few of the narratives of conversions given by 
Father Gerard at this portion of his missionary life, it is 
tantalizing to find that the personal details mentioned by 
him are insufficient to enable us always to determine who 
the personages were of whom he speaks. But in many cases 
we have sufficient data ; and here we can identify Sir Everard 
Digby's friend as Sir Oliver Manners,' fourth son of John 
fourth Earl of Rutland. His three elder brothers Roger, 

st cousin once removed of Grace Manners, wife of Sir 

Hosted by 


370 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Francis, and George, were successively Earls, and all died 
childless ; the title would therefore have devolved on the 
fourth son if he had survived. 

Sir Oliver Manners was knighted at Belvoir Castle on 
the 22nd of April 1603. by King James I. on his coming 
from Scotland. He was Clerk of the Council ;' to which 
office, entailing as Father Gerard says " daily attendance 
about the King's person," he was appointed by warrant 
dated December 30, 1603. His intimacy with Sir Everard 
Digby is mentioned by William Ellis and Michael Rapier, 
Sir Evcrard's servants, in their examinations^ after the 
Gunpowder Plot, November 21 and 22, 1605. It must 
have been in the spring of that year that he "asked and 
obtained the King's leave to go to Italy," for we have a 
"license for Sir Oliver Manners to remain beyond seas for 
three years after the expiration of his former Ucence,"^ 
dated May 13 and 16, 1608. At the expiration of this 
term, Edward Lord Vaux of Harrowden wrote'^ to the 
Earl of Salisbury from Milan, October 26, 161 1, that 
Sir Oliver Manners, who was ill of a fever, entreated 
favour for prolonging his absence beyond his licence, 
being unable to return from illness, and because his brother 
the Earl of Rutland had not sent him any money. There 
are two letters^ from Sir Oliver himself to Salisbury, one 
dated Milan, July 8, 1609, in which he regrets that his 
illness prevents his return home, but the physicians forbid 
his using any exertion, even that of writing; the other, 
dated Florence, May 17, 1610, complaining that his 
brother the Earl detains his estates, in spite of an Order 
of the Council to the contrary, although he remains abroad 
by licence, in company with Lord Vaux and others who 
are licensed. 

■ P.R.O., htd. Warrant Beak, p. 15. 

' Ibid., CuHpauider Plet Book, nn, 108, III. 

" Ibid., Doiquet. 

* Ibid., Domaiic,Javus I., vol. lxv[. n. 96. 

5 Ibid., vol. xlvii. n. ao; vol. liv. n. 51. 

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Sir Oliver Afanners. 371 

Sir Oliver Manners wrote the following letter • in 
Italian to Father Aquaviva, General of the Society, from 
Turin, April 17, 161 1, shortly before his eldest brother's 
death. " I cannot tell you what comfort I received from 
the letters of your Paternity. The troubles I then had 
will tell it better than I can, for when I was seriously ill, 
my brother the Earl sent to say that I was to expect no 
more help from England, as the King had entrusted my 
houses and estates to him, and would not permit him to 
send me a penny. Precisely at that moment the letters of 
your Paternity reached me, and seemed to me sent by our 
Lord to make me touch with my hand how His Divine 
Majesty never abandons those who hope in Him and suffer 
for His love ; and as at that time I had a great desire 
of suffering more and more, if so it should please our 
Lord, so my strength returned to me far more quickly 
than I could have expected, and thus I assured myself 
that it was the Divine will that I should reach my 
intended goal, there to do something for His service, sive 
per vilam, sive per mortem. And so I undertook my 
journey, and have already reached Turin. To-morrow I 
start for Lyons, In England I cannot expect anything 
better than that which has befallen the Baron my com- 
panion [Lord Vaux], who is in prison by the King's 
express orders, and expects to lose all he has ; for his 
mother is already condemned to the punishment called 
prmmmire, that is, the loss of all temporalities and per- 
petual imprisonment, for refusing the oath of allegiance as 
they call it. The grace I ask from God is so to bear 
myself that I may always show myself grateful for the 
many favours of your Paternity, as becomes a disciple of 
the Society, and for this intention with all humility to ask 
to be armed with your blessing, and I beg to be a partaker 
of the holy sacrifices and prayers of you Paternity and of 
all the Society. In conclusion with all reverence I kiss 
your hand." 

■ Stonyhiirst MSS., Aitgl. A. vol. vi. 

Hosted by 


372 Life of Father John Gerard. 

In the Secret Archives i of the Vatican there is a note 
in Italian written about this time which says, " The Earl of 
Rutland, brother of Sir Oliver Manners, who was over there 
[probably at Rome] with the Baron [Vaux], has fallen 
into apoplexy, and being without hope of life, has declared 
his brother Sir Francis heir to his estates, making no 
mention of Sir Oliver, of whose arrival at Paris there has 
been notice, and he is expected in England to be made the 
Baron's companion " in prison. 

Father Gerard was at this time at Louvain, and wrote 
from that place a letter^ to Father General Aquaviva, 
dated August 17, i6[i. "Now at length our friend Oliver 
has passed over from Paris to England, for the Treasurer 
is gone, his and all good men's enemy: [Robert Cecil, 
Earl of Salisbury, died May 24, 1612] and others are 
about to succeed him, who, as we hope, entertain for Ohver 
an ancient and particular affection. Besides, his eldest 
brother is dead [Roger, fifth Earl of Rutland, died 
June 26, 1612], and the second brother [Francis, sixth 
Earl] left inheritor of all the honours and wealth, 
so that a manifold occasion is offered to our friend 
of helping himself in temporal affairs, and others to 
some extent in spiritual and greater goods. Sum- 
moned by his family he has left in haste, humbly 
asking your Paternity's benediction; in the efficacy of 
which he disregards all that heretical fury or perverse 
malice can invent against him. The King is going this 
summer to his brother the new Earl's castle, to remain 
there awhile for hunting. Perhaps Oliver will take that 
occasion of presenting himself to the King, who liked 
him when he was in his service before he entered the 
service of God, and whom he has never offended in 
anything, except in choosing to be an abject in the 

■ Ntincialura Anglia, inler Misceli., kindly communicated by ihe Rev. 
Father Stevenson, S, J. 

' Stony hurst MSS., Angl. A., vol, iii, n. III. 

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Sir Oliver Manners. 373 

house of God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of 

Father Gerard's expression in this letter, that Sir 
Oliver could help others " to some extent in spiritual 
and greater goods" refers to a fact that has never 
been published, that Sir Oliver Manners was ordained 
priest by Cardinal Bellarmine' in Rome on the 5th of 
April, 161 1. He was therefore not ordained when Father 
Gerard wrote his Narrative ; but clearly this was what was 
in his mind when he wrote that men were filled not only 
with great esteem for him, but with "expectations of yet 
greater things." It thus becomes extremely probable that 
in the letter Father Gerard wrote to Father Persons from 
Brussels on the rjth of July, 1606, under the title of "his 
brother" Father Gerard meant Sir Oliver Manners. "A 
journeyman " in the mouths of Catholics meant a Jesuit, 
and " a workman " was a priest, and Father Gerard inge- 
niously expresses his wish that Sir Oliver had passed 
through the noviciate, and his estimate of his fitness for a 
priest's work in the words " unless my brother had served 
his apprenticeship and were made a journeyman, for of his 
skill and workmanship in framing the best wedding gar- 
ment there is great and general hope conceived ; " and in 
this passage Father Gerard expresses his preference for 
Sir Oliver if he were a priest over all others, including 
even Father Roger Lee. However Sir Oliver did not 
" serve his apprenticeship " or become a Jesuit, though he 
was ordained priest after Father Gerard's letter. 

The death of Sir Oliver Manners is mentioned by 
Chamberlain in a letter^ written to Carleton, dated Sep- 

■ The testimonials signed by the Cardinal, dated April 12, 1611, are in the 
Archives of the English CoUeEe at Rome. They state that the Cardinal 
conferred the tonsure, minor orders and sacred orders on five successive days 
from the sni to the 5th of April "Domino Oliverio Manoreo Anglo." 
Simitar testimonials In the same Archives show that the Cardinal ordained 
George Mallett in 161 z, and Toby Mathews and George Gage in 1614. 

= P.R.O., Domestic, James I., vol. Ixxiv. n. 56. 

Hosted by 


374 Life of Father John Gerard. 

tember 9, 1613. But it would appear that this was a false 
report of his death, for at the end of 1618 Cardinal 
Bellarmine wrote" to Father Gerard about him as if he 
had just been informed of his death. "The memory of 
that excellent Mr. Oliver, whose acquaintance I made very 
late, has brought me no little sadness, or rather grief, not 
on his account, who is translated from this world to the 
joys of Paradise, but for the sake of many whom without 
doubt he would have converted to a good Hfe if Divine 
Providence had permitted him to live any longer. But the 
good pleasure of God must ever be fulfilled, and the self 
same, va order that it may be fulfilled, must ever be 
pleasing to us under all circumstances." 

' Slonyhurst MSS,, Angl. A., vol. viii. n. 107. 

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"The conversions which took place in the country were 
not few, and some were cases of heads of families ; but I 
have already gone to great length, and I will here recount 
one only, the beginning and end of which I saw to be 

" There was a lady, a kinswoman of my hostess, whose 
husband had now many years been a Catholic, yet neither 
her husband, nor any of her friends, nor my hostess herself, 
who loved her as a sister, could ever lead her to become 
a Catholic. She did not object to listen to Catholics, 
even to priests, and was fond of earnest argument with 
them ; but she would believe no one but herself, and 
indeed her talents were greater than I have often met 
with in a woman. My hostess often mourned over this 
lady, and grieved that no remedy could be found ; she 
wished that I should once see her. She spoke highly in 
praise of her talents and amiable disposition, and of her 
life and behaviour in all respects, with the one solitary 
exception of her being an obstinate heretic. I asked my 
hostess therefore to Invite her to pay us a visit, although 
she lived in a distant county. She came according to 
the invitation, and we took care that she should find me 
showing myself in public, and dressed as though I had 
been a guest just arrived from London. On the two 
first days we did but httle, for we knew that we should 
have plenty of time afterwards, and I wished to remove 
all timidity from her ; for though she had been accustomed 

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376 Life of Father John Gerard. 

to meet priests at that house, yet they had kept mostly 
to their chambers. But as soon as I judged her to be 
convinced that I was a Catholic but not a priest, I began 
slowly to turn my conversation with her often upon 
religion. At first I spoke little, but to such purpose 
that she could not answer me ; and so I left her, not 
urging her, but rather leaving her with a desire to hear 
more. At len^h after a few days I judged her thoroughly 
prepared, and I arranged that my hostess should begin 
to talk seriously upon these topics, and that when she 
saw me enter into the conversation and carry it on, she 
should leave us in company with one or two of the lady's 
daughters, for she had brought three with her. This 
having been done, we began the combat with, as it seemed 
to her, various success, for one or two hours; and then 
she listened to me as I spoke without interruption for 
two or three hours more. She spoke little in answer, 
and did not like on the spot to acknowledge herself 
vanquished, but she thanked me heartily, and went away 
quite red and flushed in the face. She was truly moved, 
or rather changed interiorly, and straightway she ran to 
my hostess and said, 'Oh, cousin, what have you done.*' 

'"What have I done!" replied the other. 

"'Oh, who is it,' she rejoined, 'that you introduced 
me to ? Is he such a one as you represented to me .' At 
any rate he is — ' and she spoke in much higher terms of 
my learning and language than I deserved, and she added 
that she could not resist what I had urged, nor answer it. 

"On the following day God confirmed what He had 
wrought in her, and she surrendered at discretion, and 
accepted a book to help her to prepare for confession. 
Meantime with the mother's consent and assistance, I 
instructed her three daughters, and when they had learned 
the catechism, I heard their confessions. The mother, 
however, during the time of her preparation, began to be 
filled with troubie and sorrow, not on account of leaving 

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Quiel before the Storm. 377 

her heresy, but through fear of confession. I, on the 
contrary, encouraged her to persevere, and adduced argu- 
ments against her timidity, but I could not rid her of it, 
and so seeing that she was ready as far as examination 
was concerned, but nevertheless put the matter off from 
day to day, and begged a little more time to prepare, I 
would not consent. I told her that this came from the 
enemy, who grieved to leave his habitation, and at length 
she saw and acknowledged this. For as soon as out of 
obedience she had made her confession, she felt relieved 
of a great burden and tilled with consolation ; and she 
told me that now she was glad not to have delayed longer. 

"I have often found this, that some souls experience 
great trouble when they first make confession on being 
reconciled to the Church of God. Some persons even 
fall sick and faint, so as to be forced to cease speaking 
for a time and sit down, until they have recovered a little 
and are able to continue; and this has happened even 
when at their first coming they were in sound health, 
and ready to confess. And then when they recommenced, 
they again fell ill, and this happened two or three times 
in the course of their first confession. But when the 
confession was finished they not only felt no sickness, but 
having received absolution they went away full of Joy and 
consolation. Some in fact have remarked to me that did 
men but know what consolation is gained in confession, 
they would refuse to be deprived of so great a happiness. 

"Among these was to be reckoned this lady, who 
came forth from confession full of consolation, and gave 
most hearty thanks to her cousin, for that by her means 
she had been admitted to share in so great a happiness. 
So great was God's mercy towards her, that thenceforth 
she gave herself wholly up to devotion. On her return 
home she devoted herself to making handsome vestments, 
and whenever she was able she procured the company of 
priests. And not content with this, she was anxious to 

Hosted by 


378 Life of Father John Gerard. 

return wholly to our house, and to dwell with us, hi order 
to have more frequent access to the sacraments, and the 
opportunity of hearing the public and private exhortations 
that we had every Sunday and festival day. She stayed 
with us about two years, and all that time she gave herself 
up to devotion and to the constant reading of pious books. 
She was clearly led to this course of life by the special 
mercy and providence of God ; for at the end of the 
period I have mentioned, although she seemed stout and 
strong, she was suddenly attacked with disease, by which 
within a few days she was so weakened, that no skill of 
the physicians could restore her strength. She was warned 
to prepare for the life to come, and she repeated a good 
and careful confession of her whole life. 

"At length finding herself in her last agony, she wished 
to write a letter to her brother, who was a heretic, and 
almost the greatest enemy the Catholics had in the county 
where he dwelt. To him then she wished to send a letter, 
written by her daughter's hand but subscribed with her 
own, to the following effect :— That he knew that she had 
long been a strenuous upholder of this new religion, so 
that he might be the more convinced that she would not 
have changed it without good grounds, and that she had 
certain and unanswerable authorities for the faith which 
she had adopted : wherefore she protested to him that 
ever since the time when she embraced the faith, she had 
lived in peace of conscience, and that never before that 
time had she enjoyed true internal consolation: finally 
she begged him to have a care for his soul, and proceeded 
thus ; ' I, your sister, now at the point of death, by these 
my last words, beg and beseech you to embrace the 
Catholic and ancient faith ; and I protest that there is 
no other in which you can be saved.' These were her 
sentiments when almost come into her last agony; from 
which I perceived that she was wholly converted from 
heresy, and full of charity towards her neighbour ; so 

Hosted by 


Quiet before the Storm. 379 

having asked her a few questions, and found that she 
was not troubled with any temptations of presumption or 
of despair, I gave her as much help as I could in forming 
and uttering acts of the opposite virtues. After which, 
when she was on the point of death, I offered her a picture 
of the Passion of Christ, and she embraced and kissed it 
with the greatest affection. I put also a blessed medal 
into her hands, and reminded her to invoke the Name of' 
Jesus in her heart at least, in order to gain the indulgences, 
although she could not speak. I then asked her to give 
some .sign to show that she did thus from her heart, 
whereupon she caught hold of the medal and kissed it, 
repeating this action several times. Observing she made 
answer to me my signs, I bade her conceive a great sorrow 
for having ever offended God, Who was so good in Himself, 
and had shown so great mercy to her, and to give a sign 
of it by raising her hand ; she did so with great earnest- 
ness : then to conceive sorrow that she had ever been in 
heresy, and had resisted God and the Church, of which 
also she gave a sign : then to conceive the wish that all 
heretics might be converted, and that she willingly offered 
her life for their conversion, and she again made the signal 
with great earnestness, and also took my hand within her 
own, which were already chill, and held it firmly, repeating 
the signs that she was pleased with the suggestions I 
made to her. And I continued up to her last gasp, 
encouraging her, and exhorting her to praise God in her 
heart, to desire that all creatures should praise Him, and 
to offer her life for this end. And she gave me answer 
to everything, now raising, now lowering her hand, just 
as I asked her to do in assent to what I suggested. All 
the by-standers, who were numerous, and a priest also who 
was among them, were in great admiration, and declared 
that they never witnessed such a death as this. For she 
continued, as I have said, responding to my suggestions 
up to the very last breath, raising her hand slightly when 

Hosted by 


380 Life of Father John Gerard. 

she could no longer raise it much. In these interior acts 
she gave up her soul, without any trouble of mind or 
convulsion of body, but like one going off to sleep, she 
went to rest in peace. 

"Her youngest daughter had already died holily in 
our house before her mother. The second daughter mar- 
ried a rich man, and brought him to me from a consider- 
able distance to be made a Catholic. The eldest still 
lives in the same house, to be espoused not to man but 
to God, for she has a vocation to the religious state. In 
the meantime she lives there religiously, and devotes 
herself to the service of religious, as the lady of the 
house always did, and docs still. 

" It is now high time that I bring this narrative to a 
close, for I have far exceeded the limits which I first 
proposed to myself; what remains therefore I will state 

" I gave the Spiritual Exercises in this house to many 
others, as well to those who formed part of the family as 
to others ; and in each case the fruit which I hoped for 
was produced. There were two persons who made only 
the Exercises of the first week, with the view of leading 
a good and holy life. One of these, now the father of a 
family, practises many acts of charity, and is no small 
friend of ours. The other came to me, unasked and 
unexpected, to make the Exercises, and when I asked 
him whence he got this idea and intention {for he was 
a very young man, the grandson of an earl, and the heir 
of a large property), he replied, ' I read in a book put 
forth against the Society by one of its enemies, that by 
means of these Exercises you have induced many to 
embrace a religious life, and have robbed them of their 
property. Among other names mine was mentioned as 
that of one who had made the Exercises under you, and 
it was said that though you did not succeed in making 
me a religious, yet you wheedled me out of a large sum 

Hosted by 


Quiet before the Storm. 381 

of money. Now I know,' he continued, ' that my wife is 
much devoted to you, because you made her a Catholic ; 
but I know too, that neither from her nor from me have 
you ever received a penny. Since therefore they have 
done you so great a wrong, I have come to make good 
what they have falsely stated.' " 

The book here quoted was evidently Watson's Deca- 
chordon of tett Quodlibetical Questions, which was " newly 
imprinted in 1602." And the sentence quoted is clearly, 
"He also gave the Exercise to the eldest son of Master 
Walter Hastings." The Earl, whose grandson this young 
man was, must therefore have been Francis Hastings, 
second Earl of Huntingdon. The name of the young 
man is mentioned in connection with Father Gerard's in 
Cecil's list,' so often quoted, of "the Jesuits that lurk in 
England." "John Gerard, with Mrs. Vaux and young 
Mr. Hastings." This "young Mr. Hastings" afterwards 
became Sir Henry Hastings, of Kirby, and then of 
Braunston, Knight, "who, like the rest of his kindred, 
was firmly attached to the royal cause during the civil 
wars, and paid 2072/. to the usurping party for redeeming 
his estates." 2 As his mother was Joyce or Jocosa Roper, 
sister of the first Lord Teynham, Henry Hastings was 
first cousin to Elizabeth Vaux, Father Gerard's hostess. 

"So he made the Exercises, and with no slight profit; 
and he afterwards sent me word, begging me to provide 
him a priest who could join in society publicly, and without 
suspicion. I therefore provided one, and was about to 
send him, when suddenly all things were upset for a time, 
and all good hindered by the Powder Plot, as it is called. 
And if proof were wanting that I knew nothing of this 
affair, this alone would be sufficient, that at that very 
time I had sent several from England across the sea into 
these parts. One was a lady, who was going to be a nun 

Hosted by 



Life of Father John Gerard. 

in the Benedictine Convent at Brussels, whither I had 
sent two others not long before, who are now in high 
authority there. Another had been an heretical minister, 
whom I had brought to the faith and instructed. He 
was the last that I received into the Church before these 
disturbances. When these persons with certain others 
were on the point of crossing the Channel, orders were 
sent to allow no ships to leave ; they were consequently 
all taken and thrown into prison, from which they were 
released two years ago. He who had been a minister 
is at present studying in the Roman College; and the 
lardy of whom I spoke is now professed in the convent 
whither she was going when she was taken. Only 
one other minister, besides the one just mentioned, did 
I convert in England, and he is now a priest and is 
working in that vineyard. I also sent over many youths 
to the seminaries while I was in this last residence 
of mine, who will, by God's help, give their fruit in due 


But if we have received good things from God's 

hands, why should we not also bear with evil things ? if 

those things can be truly called evil which are sent from 
Him, and therefore sent that He may draw good from 
them, for those who receive them well, and humbly recog- 
nize and adore His providence, both when He gives and 
when He takes away. He had indeed given me many 
and great consolations in this residence ; interior conso- 
lations chiefly, from conversions and from the signal 
progress in virtue of many souls ; but exterior consolations 
also were not wanting. For in external matters everything 
was well and abundantly supphed me. I had several 
excellent horses for my missionary journeys, and all that 
I could wish for to carry on the work I had in hand. 
Then, in the house itself, the arrangements were made in 
the best way both for our health and our convenience. 
And for companion I had Father Strange, who is 


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Quiet before the Storm. 383 

in the Tower,' (for Sir Everard Digby had obtained 
Father Percys from the Superior,) and another priest 
who resided a long time with us. We had moreover 
good store of useful books, which were kept in a library 
without any concealment, because they had the appearance 
of belonging to the young baron, and of having been left 
him by his uncle [Henry Vaux], who was a very learned 
and studious nobleman, and was well known for his piety. 
He had in fact resigned the right and title of the barony 
to his younger brother [George], the father of the present 
lord, in order that he might more entirely and securely 
devote himself to God and his studies. If he had lived 
a little longer, he would assuredly have been a member 
of our Society, for on his death-bed this was the only 
thing that caused him regret, viz., that he could not then 
be admitted into the Society, a thing he desired most 

"Our vestments and altar furniture were both plentiful 
and costly. We had two sets for each colour which the 
Church uses ; one for ordinary use, the other for feast 
days : some of these latter were embroidered with gold 
and pearls, and figured by well-skilled hands. We had 
six massive silver candlesticks on the altar, besides those 
at the sides for the elevation ; the cruets were of silver 
also, as were the basin for the lavabo, the bell, and the 
thurible. There were moreover lamps hanging from silver 
chains, and a silver crucifix on the altar. For greater 
festivals however I had a crucifix of gild, a foot in height, 
on the top of which was represented a pelican, while on 
the right arm of the cross was an eagle with expanded 
wings carrying on its back its young ones, who were also 

' Qui nunc in rare est. — MS. An evident mistake of the copyist for "in 
tarre," as is clear from a former notice of Father Strange, supra, p. 350. 

= Cecil's list gives "Mr. Percie with Mr. Fitles in Essex." Troublts, 
1st series, p. 191. " Fittes" must mean "Fitch," which family was closely 
connected with the Wisemans, if he was there at all. Father Percy must 
have been there before he became Father Gerard's companion at Harrowden. 

Hosted by 


384 Life of Father John Gerard. 

attempting to fly ; on the left arm a phcenix expiring 
in flames that it might leave an offspring after it ; and 
at the foot was a hen with her chickens, gathering them 
under her wings. All this was made of wrought gold by 
a celebrated artist. 

" I had there also a costly ornament representing the 
Holy Name of Jesus, which my hostess had given me the 
first Christmas after I came to live in her house. The 
Name was formed of pins of solid gold, and the glory 
surrounding it had two pins in one ray and three in the 
next alternately. The whole was about twice the size of 
a sheet of this paper, and contained two hundred and 
forty of these gold pins, each pin having a large pearl 
attached : — not indeed perfectly shaped pearls, for in that 
case the value would have been something fabulous, yet 
as it was, the whole ornament, pins and pearls and all, 
was worth about a thousand florins [100/.], There was 
also at the bottom of it a sort of cypher wrought in gold 
and gems by the artist, something in the shape of a 
capital letter, expressing the donor's name, and in the 
middle of the cypher was a heart, and from this heart 
there issued a cross of diamonds. This ornament then 
was given me by the devout widow on New Year's Day, 
in honour of the most Holy Name of Jesus, commemorated 
on that feasL All these ornaments are still kept there 
in trust for the Society ; and in the meantime serve for 
the use of that domestic church and the residence of our 
fathers. But I who was not sufficiently grateful to God 
for these benefits which I have mentioned and many 
others, was compelled to leave them to others who could 
use them better and to greater advantage." 

Hosted by 





"Since it was my chief friends who were involved in 
that disaster of the Powder Plot, the Council on this 
account beUeved me to be privy to it, and from the first 
sought for me with great persistence and severity. They 
sent certain magistrates to search our house most exactly, 
with orders, if they found me not, to stay in the house 
till recalled, to post guards all round the house every 
night, and to have men on the watch both day and night 
at a distance of three miles from the house on every side, 
who were to apprehend all whom they did not know and 
bring them before the said magistrates. All this was 
done to the letter. But immediately the news reached 
us of such a plot having been discovered, and we learnt 
that certain of our friends had been killed and others 
taken, expecting that in such a season we too should 
have something to suffer, we had made all snug before 
they came, so that they found nothing. They continued 
searching however for many days, till at last my hostess 
discovered to the justice in chief command one of the 
hiding-places in which a few books had been stowed away, 
thinking that he would then desist from searching any 
further under the impression that if a priest had been in 
the house he would have been hidden there, yet they 
continued in the house for full nine days; and I mean- 
while remained shut up in a hiding-hole where I could 
sit but not stand upright. This time however I did not 

Hosted by 


386 Life of Father John Gerard. 

suffer from hunger, for every night food was brought to 
me secretly : nay, after four or five days, when the rigour 
of the search was somewhat relaxed, my friends even took 
me out at night and warmed me at a fire; for it was 
wintry weather, just before Christmas-tide. And when 
nine days had passed, the searching party withdrew, 
beHeving it impossible I could be there so long without 
being discovered. 

"In the meantime they had taken a priest who, 
knowing nothing of the watch set about the place, was 
coming to our house for safety. This good priest (by 
name Thomas Laithwaite,' who is now of our Society, 
and is labouring in England) had left us a few days 
before at my request, when we heard of the Plot, in 
order to communicate with Father Garnet, and obtain from 
him for me instructions how to act in the present crisis. 
Even on his way thither he was taken, but escaped again 
for that time in the following manner. His captors took 
him to an inn. intending to bring him up for examination 
and committal the next day. On entering the inn, he 
took off his cloak and sword and laid them on a bench ; 
then on pretence of looking after his horse and getting 
him taken to water, he went to the stable, and as there 
was a stream near the house, he bade the boy lead the 
horse thither at once, and himself went along also. When 
they had come to the stream and the horse was drinking, 
'Go,' said he to the lad, 'get ready the hay, and the 
straw for his bed, and I will bring him back when he 
has drunk.' The boy returned to the stable without 
further thought, and he mounting his horse spurred him 
into the stream, and swam him to the opposite bank. 
Those in the inn, seeing his cloak and sword still lying 
there, had for some time no suspicion of his stratagem ; 

' Father Thomas Laithwaite died in England, June 10, 1655, in his 
seventy- eighth year, forty-nine years afler his admission into the Society, 
having spent thirty on the English Mission. Siimm. Def. Vide infr. p. 404. 

Hosted by 


The Starm. 387 

but hearing from the stable-boy what had happened, they 
saw they had been outwitted, and immediately set off in 
pursuit They were however too late, for the fugitive, 
knowing the way well, got to the house of a CathoUc 
before night, and lay hid there for a few days. Then, 
finding that he could not get to Father Garnet, and 
thinking all danger had passed in our direction, he tried 
to return to me. But while avoiding Charybdis he fell 
into the clutches of Scylla; for, as I said above, he was 
taken on his way to our house, and dragged to London, 
They were not able, however, to prove him a priest, and 
his brother was allowed to buy him his freedom for a 
sum of money. 

"Two other priests who were resident with me in that 
house (one of whom, as I said before, was Father Strange) 
at the beginning of their troubles wished to go to Father 
Garnet and remain with him. Both of them however 
were taken prisoners on their way ; one was thrown into 
Bridewell, and was afterwards banished together with other 
priests ; while Father Strange, the other, was sent to the 
Tower, where he suffered much, as has been before 

"The history of this Plot, its causes and consequences, 
is but too well known ; since it has been written by both 
friends and enemies, though perhaps by neither exactly 
as it ought to be. I myself when I came from England 
to Rome, was ordered to put in writing an account of 
the whole affair, and did so as well as I could. There 
is no need therefore to repeat here, what I wrote at 
length on that occasion — in what state England then 
was — how the persecution not only was not relaxed on 
the accession of the King [James I.], but was even em- 
bittered, and carried on more grievously than ever. All 
the Catholics therefore expected, and some knew for 
certain, that new laws would be made against them in 
Parliament, more severe and cruel than the former ones ; 

Hosted by 


388 Life of Father John Gerard. 

that not only would nothing be relaxed of the tyranny 
of the Queen, but that the yoke which they had so long 
borne with weary necks would be made yet heavier to 
bear. Hereupon some of the younger and more impatient 
sort, seeing that they were scourged, not now with whips 
only but with scorpions— that no human hope was left 
them except from such aid as they could give themselves, 
since peace was now concluded between His Catholic 
Majesty and the King of England, from which peace 
the Catholics were excluded (though it was they who 
had a right to peace and not the wicked) — these persons, 
I say, seeing this, and forgetting at last that patience in 
which we ought to possess our souls, and not enduring 
any longer to see sacred things trodden under foot, and 
the faithful robbed of their goods and loaded with 
innumerable evils, to the daily lamentable ruin of weak 
souls, determined to raise the people of God from this 
disastrous state, and to wage war in strictest secrecy 
against the enemies of their own souls and bodies and 
of the Catholic cause, I say, in secrecy, because it 
must be acknowledged that any open opposition was 
no longer possible, since the Catholics were broken in 
strength and ground down to the earth, and all their arms 
had been taken from them. Thus it was that these 
persons I speak of, wishing to deliver themselves and 
others from this terrible slavery of soul and body, devised 
this plot, which they thought the only possible way of 
accomplishing what they wished, viz., by taking off at a 
single blow all the chief enemies of the Catholic cause. 

"On all these points I have written at full in the 
treatise I mentioned, I have also detailed there the 
way in which they had determined to proceed, and how 
one of them 1 disclosed the matter in confession to one 
of our Fathers when it was already ripe for execution, 
who refused to hear him any further unless he was allowed 
• This was Catesbj, the prime mover of the whole plol. 

Hosted by 


The Storm, 389 

to inform his Superior ; and how the Superior [Father 
Garnet], upon hearing so bloody a scheme, at once com- 
manded the Father to deter and prevent his penitent as 
much as he could from prosecuting it, and immediately 
wrote to the Pope, entreating His Holiness to forbid the 
Catholics to take any measures of external violence, 
I have also there set down how the Superior himself 
and Father Oldcorne were at last taken at [Henlip] the 
residence of the latter, after remaining pent up for twelve 
days in a hiding-hole : — how with them were also taken 
two serving-men, or as I have heard since and fully 
believe, two lay-brothers of our Society, both of whom 
suffered martyrdom. One of these, Rodolph [Ashley] ' 
by name, suffered with Father Oldcorne, whose com- 
panion and attendant he had been, and whose feet he 
kissed as the Father was ascending the ladder to his 
execution, giving him thanks aloud for the charity and 
benevolence he had experienced from htm, and praising 
God for having allowed him to die in the company of 
so holy a priest. 

"The other was Little John [Nicholas Owen], who 
for nearly twenty years had been Father Garnet's com- 
panion, and of whom I have made frequent mention in 
the course of this Narrative. He was well known to the 
persecutors as the chief deviser and maker of hiding- 
places all over England, and consequently as one who 
could discover more priests, and do more harm to 
Catholics, if he could be brought to make disclosures, 
than any other man. They therefore tortured him so 
long and so cruelly, that at last he died^ under their 

■ See Troubles, First Series, p. 162. 

' After thus wringing his life from him by torture, his gaolers gave out 
that he had committed suicide in prison, to escape further question : thus 
adding calumny to murder. And this statement is found in most of the 
latter histories of England. The holy brother was never brought into any 
court, nor allowed the least chance of communication with any friends; 
nor could anything be leaint of him after his capture, but what his gaolers 
chose lo tell. That he was tortured barbarously they acknowledged, by 

Hosted by 


390 Life of Father John Gerard. 

hands ; but they were never able to shake the constancy 
of his soul. 

" I have related also in that treatise how Fathers 
Garnet and Oldcorne were brought up to London, and 
frequently examined, especially Father Garnet ; how both 
of them were tortured, but Father Oldcorne " most : how 
this latter was then taken back to Worcester, and there, 
though nothing but his priesthood was proved against 
him, condemned and executed by hanging and quartering, 
and so died a martyr ; how Father Garnet was brought to 
trial in London, and gave so clear and eloquent defence 
of himself, that all were struck with admiration ; but after 
a time was so interrupted and brow-beaten by Cecil and 
others, that the gentle Father could not proceed with his 
defence as he had begun : ^ and how when brought to the 
place of execution, by the firmness and modesty of his 
whole demeanour, and by the heroic calmness with which 
he received or rather embraced his death, he touched the 
hard hearts of his cruel enemies, and rendered them well- 
affected towards him. 

"All these details, which I have here barely enumer- 
ated, in my other narrative I have described at full. I 
wil! however add here something on the way in which 
the straw was obtained, on which appeared the miraculous 
likeness of Father Garnet ; for I was afterwards present 
at the death-bed of him who found the straw, or rather to 
whom God granted it. This person [John Wilkinson] then 
na a ed to n e a r le befo e h s dea h that on the mo n 

sa E h h mm d p h lly h t h 

d h g so dg t b mbe ed 1 

h wh w k p » ^ by th th 1 

a d Bwhnb hmwh Idffh 

my h Ii ff d God b eal g h t w Id j 

h n ghbo , dn ffhmtmythlh ftd 

God by self-murder? The D j f J dgm t ill f t th 1 m y 
well as others. 

■ He was hung up by Ihe ha d Ih w y F h G d h des bed 

of himself, for five hours at a lime, and that for live successive days. 
' James himself said that "the Jesuit had no! had fair play." 

Hosted by 


The Storm. 391 

ing of the holy martyr's execution he had felt himself moved 
by an unusual fervour, and by a desire of being present 
at his martyrdom, mainly with the view of obtaining some 
portion of his relics. He had therefore, he said, pushed 
forward close to where the executioner was hacking his 
body in pieces, but durst not touch anything for fear of 
the officers standing round ; just then, the executioner 
having severed the venerable head from the body threw 
it into a basket full of straw, upon which an ear of straw 
leapt out into his hand, or so close to it that he could 
remove it without attracting any notice. This ear of 
straw he found was stained with blood, so that he kept 
it with great reverence and joy ; and he protested to me 
that for some days he found himself more inclined to 
spiritual things and to follow the counsels of Christ than 
he had ever been before ; so that he felt no peace till he 
gave up all he had, and made arrangements for coming 
hither across the water, to make his studies for the 
priesthood. He had also a strong desire of entering 
the Society ; and in these pious sentiments he continued 
to his death, which took place at St, Omers, and in which 
he gave such edification to all about him, that no one 
there remembers a holier death than his. 

"I will also add here a further testimony regarding 
an incident of Father Oldcorne's martyrdom. I men- 
tioned in that other narrative of mine, that I had had 
information by letter from England, that this holy martyr's 
intestines, being thrown into the fire according to sentence, 
burned for sixteen days, exactly the number of years 
during which he had kindled in that country the fire of 
Divine love and maintained it by his word and example. 
Now quite lately I had a conversation on this subject with 
a pious priest, who at present goes by the name of Father 
North at St. Omers. He tells me that he was himself 
a prisoner at Worcester at the time, and that he heard 
then from many persons, not only that the fire lasted 

Hosted by 


392 Life of Father John Gerard. 

all that time notwithstanding a great deal of rain that 
fell, but that it broke out into high flames, and that 
multitudes went to see it, who on their return acknow- 
ledged the truth of the report: so that at last, on the 
sixteenth or seventeenth day they were obliged to extin- 
guish the fire, or at least cover it up by heaping earth 
upon it. This same Father also declared that he sub- 
sequently saw in the courtyard of the house where these 
two Fathers were taken the form of a crown traced out 
by grass that had grown there. He said that this grass 
was different both in kind and colour from any other 
about; that it grew taller also, and traced clearly out 
the shape of an imperial crown. He added moreover 
that the beasts that got into the court-yard through the 
broken gates (for the house from the time of the capture 
had been neglected and abandoned), browsed there for 
many months, yet never during the whole time touched 
this crown or trod upon it. He looked on it as a symbol 
of the innocence of these Fathers and of their eternal 

Hosted by 


Hosted by 


l'-Al']IKk CiARNI.I-.s SIKAW. 

J by Google 

Note to Chapter XXIX. 


I. A FULLER account of Father Garnet's straw is given by Father 
Gerard in his history of the Powder Plot.' "The first sign," he 
there says, " by which it pleased God to show the merit and glory 
of this His martyr was concerning his relics, which were eagerly 
sought for by many Catholics at the very time of his martyrdom. 
Amongst which there was one young man [John Wilkinson] who 
stood by the block where the martyr's body was cut up, with 
great desire at least to get some drop of his holy blood. And 
whilst he had these thoughts, not daring to take where he 
desired for fear of being espied, it fortuned that the hangman 
having cut off the martyr's head and showed it to the people 
(as the custom is), he cast it into a basket standing there of 
purpose, full of straw, to hold the head and quarters when they 
were divided, Out of this basket did leap a straw or ear void of 
corn in strange manner into the hand of this young man, which 
he beholding and seeing some blood on it, kept it with great 
care, and no little joy that he had obtained his desire. He 
carried it away safely and delivered it unto a Catholic gentle- 
woman of his acquaintance [Mrs. Griffin], who kept it in a 
reliquary with great devotion ; and after three or four days [two 
or three months interlined in orig. MS\ a devout Catholic 
gentleman coming thither, she showed him the bloody straw, 
which he was also glad to see and reverence; but beholding 
the same more curiously than the others had done, he saw a 
perfect face, as if it had been painted, upon one of the husks ' 
of the empty ear, and showed the same unto the company, 
which they did plainly behold, and with no small wonder, but. 
with much greater joy did acknowledge the mighty hand of God, 
Who can and doth often use the meanest creatures to set forth 
His glory, and is able both out of stones and straws to raise a 
sufficient defence for His faithful servants. 

"They put up the straw again with great admiration, and 
' Condition of Catholics, p. 301. 

'Hosted by 


Life of Father John Gerard 


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in great peril of her life by danger of childbirth, who, when she 
had sustained long and painful travail and could not be delivered 
of her burthen, and now was out of hope of life, unless she 
might obtain some help from God, some of her friends made 
earnest means to get this holy straw to bring unto her ; which 

' F^ithei More says Ihal this was Ihe Spanish Ambassador, which is in 
accordance with Griffin's deposition. He gives an attestation of Ihe Baron de 
Hobocque, dated in 1625, attesting that he had seen the stiAw in 1606, when 
he was in London as Ambassador of the Archdukes of the Low Countries. 
Hist. Pi-azi. Angl. lib. vil. n, 35. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX. 395 

being obtained, and the straw brought and applied with great 
reverence, presently she received help, and was delivered by the 
mighty hand of God and merits of the martyr, whom no midwife's 
skill or endeavour could help before. 

"Another was the gentlewoman herself who tirst had this 
miraculous relic delivered her to keep For she being very much 
subject to sickness, and sometimes m such e\tremitj therewith 
that you would not think she could be able to liie an hour, it 
happened that in one of her extremest fits when she could 
find no medicine or means th-it ccild bring her iny ease she 
earnestly desired a special Iriend to make suit for the straw to be 
returned unto her for a small time which wa-; granted and as 
soon as it came {she receiving it with great devotion and 
reverence) she presently found ease ind within half an hour 
was so perfectly well that she rose from her bed, -md went to 
entertain some strangers that thtn were in the house ind e>at 
ii ont of them that were at table 

g cure of hers being spoken of by 
to be known unto the Council 
b d of the gentlewoman and tcok 
1 1 the second time tc prison 

derstandmg that this miraculous 
hown to divers painters in I ondon, 
d willed them to make the like 
d seen in a like empty ear of corn 
was not possible for them to do it, 
f hat face, in so little a room and so 
pty ear, be otherwise drawn than 
by supernatural power. And this testimony they gave of it that 
had both skill to judge and no will to favour the Catholic cause 
(being in opinion heretics), but only convinced in their under- 
standing by the evidence of the miracle." 

2. The Archbishop of Canterbury [Bancroft] to the Lord 
Chief Justice [Sir John Popham] on the apprehension of Barret 
[Barnes] and the miracle of Garnet's straw : from the original 
letter in the Archives of the See of Westminster, vol. viii. p. 41. 

una ex dismntbentibtis — [ wa 

St. John : 

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Hosted by 


396 Life of Father John Gerard. 

" My Lord, I gave a warrant to Mr. Skidmore for the appre- 
hending of one Barret, who went up and down wilh a miracle of 
Garnet's head supposed to be upon a straw that was on the hurdle 
whereupon he was drawn to his execution. This warrant was 
signed with my Lord Chancellor's hand, my Lord Treasurer's, 
my Lord of London and mine. Upon the serving of the warrant, 
the said Barret drew his rapier and hath hurt Skidmore, and is 
likewise thrust through the thigh by'him. This Barret is at a 
barber's shop in Fleet street not far from the Temple gate. I 
heartily pray your lordship to send for the stay of him that he 
may be forthcoming. He is a notable villain. And so I commit 
your lordship to God. At Lambeth, this 25th day of November 

Your lordship's most assured, 

R. Cant. 
" To-morrow I will acquaint you with some other particulars." 
Addressed " To the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice 
of the King's Bench, one of his Majesty's Most Honourable Privy 

Endorsed-' "The dispersers. Griffin's wife, Mrs. Anne Vaux, 
sent to her by a gentleman, Mrs. Gage of Bentley." 

3. Robert Barnes' examination, from a contemporary copy 
in the same authority, p. 43. 

"The examination of Robert Barnes of Harleton in the 
County of Cambridge gent., taken by the Lord Archbishop of 
Canterbury the 27th of November 1606. 

" He saith that about the 13th of November, being Thursday, 
he went to Hugh Griffin's, a tailor, to see if his, this examinate's! 
gown were made ; that until that very time he had never heard 
of the wheat ear whereupon a visage is supposed to be seen : that 
Griffin's wife was the first who then told liim of it : that she said 
there was a straw besmeared with Garnet's blood at his execution 
which had upon it the form of a face : that it was a very strange 
thmg, but was not then at home \yith her: that she promised him 
when he came again, to show it him : that accordingly, he going 
unto her two days after, viz. upon the Saturday, she showed it 
' This letter has another endorsement, which is not easily decipherable. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX. 397 

him : that he, this examinate, looking upon it through the crjstal, 
first saw a white thing : that she bade him look wistly upon it, 
and that then he imagined he saw two eyes closed, then a. face 
pale, as he thought : after, a short chin : then a forehead some- 
what high : then a perfect face : that he, being of the age of 56, 
and having endured 10 jears imprisonment, hath a dim sight: 
that he saw the said face through the crystal and his spectacles 
by candlelight : that he espied the face, as is before mentioned, 
within the time that a man would go 40 steps : that after he had 
discerned the face he siw (as he thought) two locks of hair 
standing upright in the midst of the top of the forehead : that 
having so seen it, he only said to Mrs. Griffin that it was a strange 
and wonderful sight, and that he hath not told any of it but one 
or two in Ponies [SL Paul's] whose names he remembereth not, 
and that he told them he made no great account of it : that he 
maketh no great account of it, because it may be drawn by the 
art of some painter : that the colour of the cheeks differed from 
the colour of the eyebrows, and that the parts of the face were 
distinguished from one another, as it were, with the draught of 
some hair or of some very small thing, and that the beard was 
somewhat reddish : that he saw not Garnet for the space of zo 
years past, before he came through Cheapside upon the hurdle : 
that his beard was then whitish, but had been in colour betwixt 
yellow and red. 

" Being demanded why he hath not since that time laboured 
to satisfy himself whether the said face were made by art or by 
some extraordinary means, he saith that his business hath been 
such, as he hath had no time to think of it. 

" Being demanded why he did not ask Mrs. Griffin whether 
it were a face indeed made by art or otherwise, he saith that 
he made so small account of it, as he asked her no questions 
about it. 

"Thirdly, being demanded how his words concerning the 
small account he made of il, can agree with his former speeches, 
where he said it was a very strange and wouderful thing, he 
answereth that though it were made with art, it is strange and 
wonderful in his opinion to have so perfect a face made in so 
little a room." 

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398 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Endoi-sed "Tlie copy of the Examination of Robert Barnes 
taken before the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury 37° Novem. 

4. Francis Bowen's examination. Ibid. p. 47. 

" The examination of Francis Bowen of London gent, but 
useth hmning,' taken by the Lord Archbisliop of Canterbury on 
the 2;th of November 1606, 

" He saith that betwixt tliree weeks and a fortnight since one 
Anser servant to Sir William Wiseman ^ of Essex told this exami- 
nate that he had seen an ear of co n witi a face upo 't and said 
that if he, this examinate vo Id he could br g h m vl ere he 
might see it ; that accord ni;! I e bro f,l t h s e an nate to a 
house in Cierkenwell M'here Mrs \ ne \ j x as and ne Mr. 
Dolman who hadi a knight to 1 s bro ! er that 1 e A ser and 
this examinate came into tl l 1 o se tl e sa d Doln a and Mrs. 
Anne Vaux were looking uj on the e r be ng n a crjstal that 
upon the said Anser's mot on tl ey let h n th s exan nate see it : 
that Mr. Dolman bade th s e annate look vhether he could 
espie the face : that he esp ed t n the wh le tl at t! e i e Maria 
may be repeated : that upo h s e p ng of t he perce ed it to 
be a perfect face : that the p oport on of the face us n the 
blade that lay upon the husk of a corn the com be ng out, or 
rather, the blood made the [roport on of the face tl at upon the 
top of his forehead stood up certain hairs ; that the forehead was 
something high, and had as it were two wrinkles overthwart it: 
that there was then a little stroke went down resembling a nose: 
the mouth was not well discerned because the hair of the upper 
lip did hang over it : the beard seemed to be somewhat long and 
bloody : that the compass of the face seemed to be, either the 
extremity of the husk, or else some little brown blackish small 
strokes which he conceived to be of blood congealed of that 
colour ; that the hair above the forehead seemed to be likewise 
little streaks of blood, and so were the two wrinkles, the two little 
' That is to say that, " though a gentleman, he practises painting." 
' We thus leam that Father Gerard's friend was knighled early in James' 
reign. Sir William Wiseman published a book in 1619 called "The Christian 

^ That is, "whose brother isa knight." 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX, 399 

strokes for the eyebrows, the stroke that was made down for the 
nose, two small streaks resembling the eyes, and the hairs of the 
beard were like the hairs on the top of the forehead, saving that 
they were (as is aforesaid) somewhat more of the colonr of blood : 
that there was no more to be seen but t!ie head, as neither the 
arms, shoulders nor neck : that the face was much like to this in 
the margent," saving that it was drawn in a better proportion : 
that all the rest of the face, saving the said streaks, was the husk 
itself: that he verily thinketh the face upon the ear which he saw 
in the glass, might have been made as skilfully ot more skilfully 
by a cunning workman : that he verily believeth if the said straw 
came first into a dishonest man's hand, the face upon the ear 
might have been counterfeited : that he first heard of the said 
face about a week before he saw it, but remembereth not by 
whom : that before he saw it and since he hath heard many 
Catholics talk of it, and some of them to affirm that the face was 
like to Garnet's ; that one Mr. Martin who taught the children 
upon the virginals that played in the Elackfriars did ask this 
examinate whether it were not like Garnet's face," 

Endorsed " The copy of the examination of Francis Bowen, 
talcen before the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury 27° Nov. 1606." 

5. Hugh Griffin's first examination, from a contemporary 
copy in the Archives of the Old Chapter. 

"The confession of Hugh Griffin, of St. Clement's without 
Temple Bar, tailor : — taken by the Lord Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, November 27, 1606. He saith that the same day that 
Garnet was executed [May 3, 1606], one John Wilks [sic], 
a silkman, being come out of his prenticeship two years since, 
and living now amongst his friends in Yorkshire, brought to 
this examinate's house a straw with an ear upon it, which he 
said was one of the straws whereupon Garnet was laid when 
he was executed ; that the straw and ear were bloody ; that 
this examinate and his wife desired to have the straw ; that 
he promised they should have it at his going into the 
country; that they advised with the said Wilks to have the 
straw put into a crystal for the better preserving of it; that 
within three or four days or a week (as he remembereth) the 
' There is no face given in Ihe margin of the copy. 

Hosted by 


400 Life of Father John Gerard. 

straw was set in crystal, according to tlie former resolution ; that 
about nine weeks since [about the zsth of September] and not 
before, he, this examinate, looking earnestly through the crystal 
upon the said straw, with his wife, and one Thomas (who once 
served, as he thinketh, the Lady Beeston, wife to Sir Hugh 
Beeston) they all together at once discovered a thing like a face 
upon the ear of the said straw ; that this examinate did first say 
to the other tivo (as he thinketh), ' Do you not discern a thing 
upon the ear like a face?' and they answered that they did; 
that thereupon he then (as he thinketh) opened the crystal, and 
then, upon their earnest looking upon it, they imagined they saw 
a face; that this examinate thereupon said to the test, 'This may 
chance to proceed from our fancies,' and therefore desired them 
to make no words of it until it were be e de ded ha he kept 
it in his house about a fortnight, nd n he an n e oolted 
upon it forty times (as he thinketh) and ome nes half an hour 
or an hour together, until he saw the g so perfe ly s he is 
sure he could not be deceived ; 1 a he fa e o pe fectly 

apparent, being once found, viz. he fo h ad he e the 
cheek, the nose, the mouth, the bea d and 1 e n k as he 
supposeth no man living is able to d he ke h ng upon the 

like subject ; that the said Wilks, i hen 1 e le he aw n the 
crystal with this examinate, did not (a 1 e h nke h) e e aoine 
that there was any face upon it ; th 1 e do h no en en be that 
any but himself and his wife did e he d fa e du g the 
said fortnight, or that himself did a qua n any 1 that 

peradventure his wife might tell som bod of b horn he 
knowelli not, that after the said fo n h ended when 1 e was 
assured as aforesaid, he showed it o Lo d W 11 an Ho rd ■ ' 
that Dr. Taylor being present (as he remembereth) desired to 
have had it, to have been showed to the Ambassador of Spain ; that 
the Lord William kept the said straw, and showed it to such as 
he thought fit ; that about ten days after, this examinate received 
it again from the said Lord William; that he thereupon delivered 
it unto Dr. Taylor, in the hope of some good reward to be given 
unto him; that he delivered it as he did never expect to have 
it again, except it were to borrow it, with the Ambassador's 

' Lord William Howard ofNawotth, tliird son of Thomas fourlh Duke of 
Norfolk, half-brother of Philip Earl of Arundel, 

Hosted by 


Note (o Chapter XXIX. 


liking, to show it to some of his friends that would desire to see 
it; that his lordship kept it some two or three days; that he 
this examinate, received it again and showed it to some, but he 
doth not remember to whom ; that he delivered it back again to 
Dr. Taylor within a day or two after he had received it from the 
Lord William; that Dr. Taylor told him how the Lord Ambas- 
sador made great account of it, had sent it to be seen by the 
Ambassador of Venice, and that he was very loth to part with it ; 
that he delivered the said straw to Dr. Taylor, as aforesaid • 
that the Lord William first had it for about five days before he, 
this examinate, gave it to Dr. Taylor as aforesaid; that this 
examinate did show it to Mrs. Anne Vaux, when he had it from 
the Lord William and before he returned it back again to 
Dr. Taylor after be had borrowed it ; that this examinate lent 
it at that time to the said Mrs. Anne Vaux ; that she had it with 
her a day and a half or two days ; that he supposeth she showed 
it unto divers; that this examinate was much troubled before he 
could get it again from Mrs, Anne Vaux ; that if any affirm that 
there is any light or beams about the said face, he affirmeth that 
which is not true ; that for aught this examinate knoweth, the 
said face is no more like Garnet's face than any other man's that 
hath a beard ; that he imagineth, the face being so little, no man 
is able to say it is like Garnet ; that this examinate never did see 
Mr. Garnet but when he was brought to the Tower ; that he 
reraembereth that Mr. Garnet was a well-set man, and had a big 
face, according to his proportion ; that though the face seem bat 
little at the first view, yet upon diligent looking upon it, it 
seemeth still to increase in perfectness and to be bigger, but 
that when it is perfectly discerned with the eye, it contmueth in 
one and the same bigness; that he verily thinketh, except one 
be told in which husk the face is, he will very hardly find it ; that 
all the said perfect visage, to be seen as is aforesaid, is contained 
in the length and breadth of the husk of one com. He also 
saith upon occasion of further speech that the crystal wherein the 
Straw is set was his own before, and that he gave it to the said 
Wiiks that the straw might be put into it, and took order with 
him that the crystal should be set in gold or silver and gilt ; that 
it is about the breadth of a shilUng, but made in the form of a 

Hosted by 


402 Life of Father John Gerard. 

heart ; that it is about a quarter of an inch thick ; that the straw 
is nipped off, and the whole ear Heth round in it." 

6. Hugh Griffin's second examination, from the Archives of 
Westminster, vol. viit. p, 51. 

" The second examination of Hugh Griffin of St. Clement's 
without Temple Bar, tailor, taken by the Lord Archbishop of 
Canterbury 27° Novemb. 1606, 

" He saith that within 8 or 10 days of Garnet's death the ear 
wherein the face is seen was put in crystal, which must fall out to 
be about the eleventh or twelfth of May : that about Midsummer 
John Wilks went into Yorkshire, returned a little before Michael- 
mas, and went back again into Yorkshire about a week after 
Michaelmas: that about 8 or 10 weeks since, he first discerned 
the face in the said ear : that from about the iilh or 12th of 
May he had the said crystal and ear in his house, before he espied 
the said visage till about the i8th of September, which was 19 
weeks : that all this time of 19 weeks he never looked upon the 
said crystal : that before the said 19 weeks ended, he had no time 
to look upon it : that when he first looked upon it about to weeks 
since, he saw a glimmering of a face. 

" He saith that when the crystal with the ear was first brought 
unto him by Wilks, he looked upon it, but did not then espy 
any visage : that he looked a good while earnestly upon it about 
10 weeks since, before he saw the glimmering of a face. And 
being demanded why he viewed the same longer and more 
earnestly at this time than he did when it was first brought unto 
him in the said crystal, he answereth, because he had not leisure 
when it first was brought unto him, so to view it. 

" Being demanded how it came to pass that he never looked 
upon it for the space of the said 19 weeks, but when his wife and 
one Thomas were present, he answereth that then he was best at 

" That he thinketh it was never seen, after it was brought 
unto him first in crystal, until about the 10 weeks before men- 

Endorsed " Copy of the second examination of Hugh Griffin, 
27° Nov. 1606." 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX. 403 

7. Hugh Griffin's third examination : ibid. p. 55. 

" The examination of Hugh Griffith [sic] taken by the Lord 
Archbishop of Canterbury 3° December \sic\ 1606. 

" He saith diat it was a month or 5 weeks after Michaelmas 
when he saw John Wilkinson [«V] last: that he so thinketh 
because he used the said John his advice in letting a house of 
Mr. Preston's to the Count Arundell about the first wee[k] as he 
thinketh after Michaelmas: that the said John h[as] a brother 
dwelling at the upper end of Cheapside : that [about] 8 days 
since the said John's mother sent a letter to th[is examinale] 
signifying unto him that she heard her son wa[s gone] beyond 
seas, and desiring of him, this examinate, that if he [were] not 
gone, he would stay him : that it was not John his said brother 
who brought the said letter but one out of the country : that he 
knew not of his going beyond seas, if he be gone, nor did ever 
advise him thereunto, 

" Being demanded where the said Thomas is to be found, 
whom he mentioned in his first examination, he desireth to be 
foreborne therein, for that being a Catholic he would not bring 
him into trouble : that he did not see the said Thomas since 
about 10 days past, as he remembereth. 

" Being demanded unto how many he had lent the crystal 
with the straw, besides the Lord William, and Mrs. Anne Vaux, 
he desireth to be foreborne, for that he had received blame for 
that he hath done already : that it might be that the said John 
did see the face in the crystal, having lain for the most part seven 
weeks at this examinate's house at his last being at London. 

" Being demanded unto whom he imparted the effect of his 
confession before the Lord Archbisliop of Canterbury at his first 
examination, he desireth to be foreborne the answering of it ; 
only he saith that he thinketh he told the Lord Chief Justice's 
man somewhat of it. 

" He further saith that he mistook something in his first 
examination which now he amendeth, saying that John Wilkinson 
bringing the straw from Garnet's execution, this examinate willed 
his wife that it might be put into something, for else it would 
moulde[r] away : that thereupon the same day the said John and 
this examinate's wife did put it into a little vase of crystal, which 

Hosted by 


404 Life of Father John Gerard. 

his wife had ready made, and that for aught he knoweth it was 
so laid up and not seen for 19 weeks after : that he knoweth not 
whether he lent the glass with the straw unto the said John 
Wilkinson or unto this said Thomas." 

Endorsed " Copy of . . . examination . . . December." 

8, Thomas I.aithwaite's examination : Hid. p. 59. 

" The second' examination of Thomas Laithwaite, servant to 
the Lady Katharine Gray, taken by the I,ord Archblsliop of 
Canterbury 3° December 1606. 

" He saith that Hugh Griffith did not send for him upon the 
Friday morning after he had been first examined before the Lord 
Archbishop of Canterbury, which (vas the Tuesday before, viz. 
on the zyth of November : that no person man or woman came 
unto him in Hugh Griffith's name for his, this examinate's, repair 
unto him : that nobody was present when the said Hugh Griffith 
told him what he had confessed : that what he told him was in 
Griffith's shop : that he received the crystal with the straw from 
Griffith about Sunday uas a fortnight : that he received it upon 
one day and brought it back to Griffith the day following : that 
whilst he had it. he showed it to Sir Hugh Eeeston' and one 
Mr. Fortescue : that he re-delivered the said crystal with the 
straw to Griffith in his chamber, nobody being present; that he 
never borrowed nor had the said straw from Griftith but once as 

■ The copy of the first cKamination does not seem to have been preserved. 
Falher Getaid has said, siip-a, p. 3S7, that they could not prove Thomas 
Lailhwaile to be a priest, and in these esaminalions there is nothing to show 
that he was suspected of being one. It is noteworthy lliat Hugh Gtiifin is 
asked "where the said Thomas is to be found," at the very lime when he was 
in Archbishop Bancroft's custody. Father Gerard acids that "his brother was 
allowed to buy his freedom." This would seem to be a confusion with a 
former imprisonment, for Thomas Laithwaite was one of the 47 priests who 
were banished in 1606. He had been arrested on his landing at Plymouth in 
1604 and condemned to death for his priesthood at the lemmas Assizes at 
Exeter, and he was then the means of converting his brother Edward, who had 
come to see him in prison in the hope of reclaiming him to Protestantism. 
There were five of the family in the Society, three priests who were known by 
the name of Kensington. Father Thomas whose alias was Scott, and the eldest 
who was a lay-brother (More, J/isf. Prov. lib. ix. n. i). 

" Sir Hugh Beeston, son of Sir George Beeston, who distinguished himself 
against the Armada and died in September 1601, married Margaret, daughter 
of Laurence Downes of Worthe, and widow of Philip Worthe of Tydrington. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX. 405 

aforesaid : that the Lady Katharine Gray had seen the said straw, 
but by whose means he knoweth not ; but afterwards he said, he 
knoweth not whether ever she saw it or no, nor whether he hath 
ever hear[d] her arknowledge that she saw it : that he will not 
tell anything that may bring others in trouble, though it cost him 
his life. 

" He further saith that he knoweth Dr. Taylor and was with 
him at the Embassador's house of Spain on Friday or Saturday 
last : that he had no business with him but only was there to see 
his wife : that he had been acquainted with Dr. Taylor since the 
beginning of summer : that he never saw the said crysul with 
the straw either in the Lord Embassador's or in Dr. Taylor's 

Endorsed " Copy of Thomas Laithwaite's second examination 
3° Decern. 1606." 

9. The account given by John Wilkinson, when dying at 
St Omers, translated from Father More's Historia Frovincim 
Anglkana, Hb. vii., n. 35. 

"I, John Wilkinson, stricken by a grievous malady, and my 
life being despaired of by the physicians, that I may acquit 
myself of an obligation by which I am bounden to God and His 
saints, will now declare how I found the ear of corn on which the 
likeness of blessed Father Garnet is to be seen. 

hd FhG lask 

wh h d bhldghdhdfrryg 

a m g h 1 I 11 d w 1 f 

fyfeind g hidd dbbhl 

hid hglbGdwld f h n 

of His holy servant. When this thought kept continually recur- 
ring to me I endeavoured to drive it from my mind, lest by 
expecting a miracle where there was no need of one, I might 
tempt God and offend Him. On the following day very early I 
betook myself to the place of execution and took up a position as 
near the scaffold as possible, remaining in the same spot until 
Garnet came. So great, however, was the concourse of horsemen 
on the arrival of the Father, and such a crowd of people pressed 
round that I could not keep my position, nor hear distinctly what 

Hosted by 


4o6 Life of Fatlier John Gerard. 

Avas saiA I remarked nevertheless many things which caused me 
no slight consolation. In the first place, the careful arrangement 
of his shirt that it might not be raised by the wind, which gave 
me a great idea of his modesty and purity. Again when the 
ladder was removed, his hands placed over his breast in the form 
of a cross, although they dropped somewhat, yet retained the same 
form of the cross over his heart until he expired. This furnished 
me with greater reason for wonder, as if it had been a sign sent 
from Heaven, for whilst d>'ing he had prayed that God would not 
allow the Cross of his Lord to be torn from his heart I also 
perceived that when his head was cut off and held up for the 
view of the spectators, that his countenance was the same and 
retained the same colour as in Hfe; and at the same time I 
remarked that I did not hear any one cry out ' Long live the 
King ! ' as is the custom on such an occasion. This was a proof 
to me that even then the people were convinced of his innocence. 
After his body had been cut up into four parts and together with 
the head thrown into a basket and placed in a cart, as the crowd 
by degrees retired I advanced into the space between the scaffold 
and the cart, still with the same eager desire of carrying off some 
of his relics. Whilst I was looking round, this ear of corn, 
concerning which there is now so much talk, somehow or other 
came into my hands. Straw was thrown from the scaffold into 
the basket containing the head and members, but whether this 
ear came from the scaffold or the basket I cannot say, I am 
certain however that it did not touch the ground. I handed over 
this ear the same day to Mrs. Griffin, and she placed it in a 
crystal case, which being rather small caused the ear to be bent 
round. A few days afterwards in my presence she showed it to 
one of our acquaintance a very good man. When he had looked 
at it with much attention he said, ' I do not see anything except 
a man's face.' Astonished at this remark, we ran to the case 
and both of us beheld the face which we had not remarked 
before. Others also being summoned perceived it at the same 
time. And this is the most true account of the ear which I 
found, as God knows, and I considered that for His glory I was 
bound to narrate it." 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXIX. 407 

10. Father Richard BloiinC, in a letter dated November 8, 
i6o6, says, "A Catholic person in London having kept, since 
the execution of Mr. Garnet, a straw that was erabued in his 
blood, now these days past being viewed again by the party and 
others, they espy in the ear of the straw a perfect face of a man 
dead, his eyes, nose, beard, and neck so hvely representing 
Mr. Garnet as not only in my eyes but in the eyes of others 
which knew him, it doth lively represent him. This hath been 
seen by Catholics and Protestants of the best sort and divers 
others who much admire it &c. This you may boldly report, for 
besides ourselves a thousand others are witnesses of it." 

And in another ktter dated March, 1607, "It cannot be a 
thing natural or artificial. The sprinkling of blood hath made so 
plain a face, so well proportioned, so lively shadowed, as no art 
in such a manner is able to counterfeit the like." Stonyhurst 
MSS., Father Grene's Colkdan. M. 

\ r. Father Henry More, whose history was published in 1660, 
says that the straw was kept in the English College of the Society 
a L 1 he last mention we have met of it is by the Abb^ 

F II n h article " Garnett " in his Didionnatre Historique, 
wh h w p blished at Li^ge in 1797, and therefore after the 
upr on f the Society. His words are, " L'^pi est aujourd- 
hu en 1 mains d'un de mes amis, qui le conserve soig- 
neusement." These words are omitted in the later editions of 
the Dictionary. 

Hosted by 



" I WILL now add a few words about myself before closing 
this narrative, I have stated in the other treatise of which 
I spoke, that a proclamation was issued against three 
Jesuit Fathers, of whom I was one ; and, though the most 
unworthy, I was named first in the proclamation, whereas 
I was the subject of one, and far inferior in all respects to 
the other. All this, however, I solemnly protest was 
utterly groundless ; for I knew absolutely nothing of the 
Plot from any one whatsoever, not even under the seal 
of confession, as the other two did ; nor had I the slightest 
notion that any such scheme was entertained by any 
Catholic gentleman, until by public rumour news was 
brought us of its discovery, as it was to all others dwelling 
in that part of the country. 

"When I saw by that long search of nine days that 
I was sought after and aimed at in particular, I wrote a 
public letter, as if to some friend, in which by many argu- 
ments, and by protestations beyond all cavil, I maintained 
my entire innocence of the charges brought against me. 
Of this letter I caused many copies to be taken, and to 
be dropped about the London streets very early in the 
morning. These were found and read by many persons, 
and a copy was shown to the King by one of the Lords 
of Council, who was no enemy either of mine or of my 
cause. The King, as I heard, was personally satisfied by 
this. Afterwards, however, when information was given 

Hosted by 


Escape. 409 

them of Father Garnet's hiding-place, and they conceived 
hopes of catching him, and of turning the whole charge 
on the Society, they thought it necessary to pubhsh the 
names of some of ours as the principal contrivers of the 
Plot. So they put my name down, as well as those of 
the other two Fathers, of whom they had heard from a 
certain servant of Master Catesby. This man, however, 
before his death, repenting of this injury he had done 
them, confessed that he had been induced to say what 
he did of them against his conscience, by the fear of death 
on the one hand, and by the hope of pardon, and by the 
persuasions and suggestions of Secretary Cecil on the 
other. And it is possible that some persons at that time 
had a real suspicion that I was privy to the thing, because 
they knew that many of the gentlemen who had been 
taken were friends of mine, and were in the habit of 
visiting me at my London house. This, indeed, was 
acknowledged by one of them in his examination, though 
at the same time he affirmed that I knew nothing of their 
scheme. Nor did they ever get a single word against me 
from any of their examinations. Sir Everard Digby, in- 
deed, who was known to be most intimate with mc. and 
for that reason was most strictly examined about me, 
publicly protested in open court that he never dare men- 
tion a syllable of it to me, because I should never have 
permitted him to go on with it. When I had heard of 
all this, and besides, had learnt several particulars con- 
cerning Father Garnet, which proved that any knowledge 
he had was under seal of confession, and imparted to him 
by the only priest of the Society who knew of it, and that 
also only in confession ; it seemed to me that I was suffi- 
ciently cleared of the charge, and in order to bring this 
fact into notice, I prepared three letters to three Lords 
of the Council, a little before the death of the condemned 
conspirators, in which I showed more at full that I was 
completely ignorant of the whole matter, and pointed out 

Hosted by 


410 Life of Father John Gerard. 

how they might satisfy themselves of the same while those 
gentlemen were yet alive. Whether they did so or not, 
I do not know: but this much I know, that in the whole 
process of Father Garnet's trial, in which after the receipt 
of these letters they tried their utmost to defame the whole 
Society, and in particular to charge this Plot on the 
English Mission, they never once mentioned me. They 
spoke indeed of three Fathers as guilty, but they named 
those two who had heard of it in confession, and Father 
Oldcorne, not as privy to the Plot beforehand, but as an 
accomplice post factum. 

" Nevertheless I took the greatest precaution to remain 
hidden ; and I lay at a place in London known to no one. 
So by the protection of God I continued safe, and if it 
had seemed good, I could have remained so still Jonger. 
I did not therefore leave England to avoid being taken, 
but as in that groat disturbance it was no time for 
labouring, but rather for keeping quiet, I took a favour- 
able opportunity that presented itself of passing over into 
these parts, and reposing a little, that after so long a 
period of distracting work in all kinds of company, I might 
open my mouth and draw my breath,' and recover strength 
for future labours. Why, even at that very time when I 
was keeping so close, and when nearly all my friends were 
either in prison, or so upset that they could scarcely help 
themselves, much less me, though I had lost the house I 
had in London, through the fault of one who disclosed it, 
as I have said, and though strict watch was kept every- 
where, and danger beset one on all sides; yet, before I 
had settled to leave England, I managed to hire another 
house in London very fit for my purpose, perhaps more so 
than the former. I managed also to furnish it with every- 
thing necessary, and made some good hiding-places in it; 
and there I remained in safety the whole of Lent before 
my departure. Besides this house I also hired another, 
' Ut aperirem os meum et atlraherem spirilum.— jl/i". Psal. cxviii, 131. 

Hosted by 


Escape. 4 r i 

finer and larger than this, which I intended should be in 
common between Father Antony Hoskins and me. This 
house after my departure was used by the Superior of the 
mission for a considerable time. 

"The first of these last -mentioned houses I brought 
into some little danger, about the end of Lent, in order 
to rescue one of our Fathers from imminent danger. The 
thing happened in this wise. The good Father, by name 
Thomas Everett, had gone to a gentleman's house in 
London, where there were some false brethren, or else 
some talkative ones ; for the fact reached the ears of the 
Council. And as he is something of my height, and has 
black hair, Cecil thought it was I of whom notice was 
given him, and said to a private friend of his, ' Now we 
shall have him,' meaning me. However, he had neither 
the one nor the other. For I, learning that the Father 
had gone to this place, where he could not possibly remain 
hidden, asked my friend, in whose house I had myself 
been concealed before I had procured and furnished my 
new abode, to fetch him and keep him close in his house 
for a time, which he did. Here he remained while the 
house he had just left was undergoing a strict search. 
Now it so happened that, after a few days, a search was 
also made in the very place to which lie had been brought, 
on account of some books of Father Garnet's which had 
been seen, and which this gentleman used to keep for him. 
After rifling the place well and finding no one, for Father 
Everett had betaken himself to a hiding-place, they carried 
off the master and mistress of the house, and threw them 
into prison. Now when I heard this, and knew there was 
no Catholic left in the house, fearing lest the Father should 
either perish with hunger, or come forth and be taken, I 
sent persons from my own house, to whom I described 
the position of his hiding-place. They went thither, and 
called to him, and knocked at the place, for him to open 
it ; he, however, would neither open nor answer, though 

Hosted by 


412 Life of Father John Gerard. 

they said that I had sent them for him. For, as he did 
not know their voices, he was afraid that this was a trick 
of the searchers, who sometimes pretend to depart, and 
then after a time return, and, assuming a friendly tone, go 
about the rooms, asking any who are hidden to come out, 
for that the searchers are all gone. The good Father 
suspected that this was the case now, and therefore made 
no answer. My messengers remained a long time trying 
to reassure him, and at last were obliged to return, but so 
late that they fell into the hands of the watch. They were 
detained in custody that night, and got off with some 
difficulty the next day. One of them, however, was re- 
cognized as having formeriy lived with a Catholic, and 
was therefore believed to be a Catholic himself, and as 
it was now known where he lived (namely, in the house 
I had hired), this brought that house into suspicion, though 
it had been ostensibly hired by a schismatic, who was 
under no suspicion at all. The consequence was that 
some four days later the chief magistrate of London, who 
IS called the mayor, came with a posse of constables to 
search the house. 

" In the meantime, hearing that Father Thomas would 
not answer, and knowing well that he was there, to pre- 
vent his perishing from starvation, I sent another party 
with the man who had made the hiding-place and knew 
how to open it. The place was thus opened and the good 
Father rescued from his perilous position. They brought 
him to my house, and there he remained. I myself, how- 
ever, before he arrived, had gone to a friend's house, a 
very secure place, with the purpose of staying there a 
little, as I had some fears that the apprehension of my 
servants a day or two back might bring the searchers to 
my house. IMy fears were well founded : for on Holy 
Thursday, while Father Everett was saying mass, and had 
just finished the offertory, there was a great tumult and 
noise at the garden gate; and the mayor used such 

Hosted by 


Escape. 413 

violence, and made such quick work of it, as to have 
entered the garden, and the house, and to be now actually 
mounting the stairs, just as the Father, all vested as he 
was and with all the altar-furniture bundled up, had 
entered his hiding-place. So near a matter was it, that 
the mayor and his company smelt the smoke of the ex- 
tinguished candles, so that they made sure a priest had 
been there, and were the more eager in their search. But 
of the three hiding-places in the house they did not find 
one. So they departed, taking with them those men 
whom they found in the house, and who acknowledged 
themselves to be Catholics, and the schismatic also who 
passed for the householder. After this, having again 
released Father Everett from his hiding-hole and advised 
him to leave London, I determined not to use that house 
again for some time. And seeing that the times were 
such as called us rather to remain quiet, than to gird our- 
selves for work, I took the first opportunity of crossing 
the sea and coming into these parts. 

" I recommended my friends to different Fathers, asking 
them to have special care of them during my absence. 
As for my hostess [Mrs. Vaux], she was brought to London 
after that long search for me, and strictly examined about 
me by the Lords of the Council ; but she answered to 
everything so discreetly as to escape all blame. At last 
they produced a letter of hers to a certain relative, asking 
for the release of Father Strange and another, of whom I 
spoke before. This relative of hers was the chief man in 
the county in which they had been taken, and she thought 
she could by her intercession with him prevail for their 
release. But the treacherous man, who had often enough, 
as far as words went, offered to serve her in any way, 
proved the truth of our Lord's prophecy, ' A man's enemies 
shall be those of his own household,' for he immediately 
sent up her letter to the Council. They showed her, 
therefore, her own letter, and said to her, ' You see now 

■Hosted by 


414 Life of Father John Gerard. 

that you are entirely at the King's mercy for life or death ; 
so if you consent to tell us where Father Gerard is, you 
shall have your life.' 

" ' I do not know where he is,' she answered, 'and if I 
did know, I would not tell you.' 

" Then rose one of the lords, who had been a former 
friend of hers, to accompany her to the door, out of cour- 
tesy, and on the way said to her persuasively, ' Have pity 
on yourself and on your children, and say what is required 
of you, for otherwise you must certainly die.' 

" To which she answered with a loud voice, ' Then, my 
lord, I wil! die.' 

"This was said when the door had been opened, so 
that her servants who were waiting for her heard what 
she said, and all burst into weeping. But the Council 
only said this to terrify her, for they did not commit her 
to prison, but sent her to the house of a certain gentleman 
in the city, and after being held here in custody for a time 
she was released, but on condition of remaining in London, 
And one of the principal Lords of the Council acknow- 
ledged to a friend that he had nothing against her, except 
that she was a stout Papist, going ahead of others, and, 
as it were, a leader in evil. 

" Immediately she was released from custody, knowing 
that I was then in London, quite forgetful of herself, she 
set about taking care of me, and provided all the furniture 
and other things necessary for my new house. Moreover, 
she sent me letters daily, recounting everything that 
occurred ; and when she knew that I wished to cross 
the sea for a time, she bid me not spare expense, so that 
I secured a safe passage, for that she would pay every- 
thing, though it should cost five thousand florins, and in 
fact she sent me at once a thousand florins for my journey. 
I left her in the care of Father Percy, who had already as 
my companion lived a long time at her house. There he 
still remains, and does much good. I went straight to 

Hosted by 


Escape. 415 

Rome, and being sent back thence to these parts, was 
fixed at Louvain. What happened to me there may be 
read, together with the labours of others, in the Annual 

" I have received two signal benefits on the 3rd of 
May, through the intercession, as I think, of Father Garnet, 
who went to Heaven on that day. The first was as 
follows. When I had come to the port where, according 
to agreement, I was to embark with certain high per- 
sonages in order to pass unchallenged out of England, 
they, out of fear, excused themselves from performing their 
promise. And in this mind they continued till within an 
hour of the time for embarking. Now just at that time 
Father Garnet's martyrdom was consummated at London, 
and he being received into Heaven remembered me upon 
earth ; for the minds of those lords were so changed, that 
the ambassador himself came to fetch me, and with his 
own hands helped to dress me in his livery, so that I might 
be taken for one of his attendants, and so pass free. AH 
went well, and I do not doubt that I owed it to Father 
Garnet's prayers. 

"The other and greater benefit is that three years 
later, on the same 3rd of May, I was admitted into the 
body of the Society by the four vows, though most un- 
worthy. This I look upon as the greatest and most signal 
favour I have ever received, and it seems to me that God 
wished to show me that I owed this also to the prayers of 
Father Garnet, from an exact similarity in the circum- 
stance of time between my profession and his martyrdom. 
For the day originally fixed for both had been the first 
day of May, the feast of the Holy Apostles SS. Philip and 
James, and in both cases unforeseen delays postponed the 
event till the 3rd of May. 

" God grant that I may truly love and worthily carry 
the Cross of Christ, that so I may walk worthy of the 
vocation whereto I am called. This one thing I have 

Hosted by 


4i6 Life of Father John Gerard. 

asked of our Lord, and this will I continue to ask, that 
I may dwell in the house of God all my days, until I prove 
myself grateful for so great a favour, and though hitherto 
unfruitful, yet by the fertility of the olive tree in which I 
have been grafted, I may at length begin to bear some 

"Praise be to God, to the Most Blessed Virgin, to 
Blessed Father Ignatius, and to my Angel Guardian. 

Hosted by 



Here the autobiography of Father Gerard ends. He 
survived his escape from England thirty-one years, but 
before we proceed to examine such materials as remain 
to us for tracing his life during that time, we must give 
insertion to some notes from various sources on the con- 
cluding portion of the story he has told us, which narrarive 
we have purposely left uninterrupted, as far as possible. 
And first respecting the Gunpowder Plot. 

As well in his autobiography, as in the Narrative of 
the Powder Plot written by him. Father Gerard makes 
mention of three letters sent by him to three Lords of 
the Privy Council. Who one of these Lords was we do 
not know, but we take from the Record Officer the letter 
addressed to the Duke of Lenox, enclosing letters to the 
Earl of Salisbury and Sir Everard Digby, 

"Right Honourable,— Seeing all laws, both divine and 
human, do license the innocent to plead for himself, and 
the same laws do strictly require and highly commend an 
open ear in any of authority to give audience and equal 
trial to a plaintiff in such a case, my hope is that your 
Grace will excuse this my boldness in offering up by your 
hands my humble , petition for trial of my innocence 
touching the late most impious treason, whereof I am 
wrongfully accused, by some lost companions, I assure 
me, who, to save themselves from deserved punishment, 
will not stick to accuse any innocent of any crime wherein 
' P.R.O., Domistk.Jamis I., vol. iviii. n. 35. 

Hosted by 


4i8 Life of Father John Gerard. 

their bare word may pass for proof. There is none so 
innocent but may be wrongfully accused, sith innocency 
itself in our Lord and Master was accused and condemned 
as an enemy to the State and no friend to Cjesar, The 
servant must not look to be more free from wrongs than 
his Master was. But happy is that man by whom the 
truth is tried in Judgment and innocency cleared. 

"I durst not presume, being branded with the odious 
name of traitor, to offer my petition to my Sovereign (to 
whom, as God is witness, I wish long life and all happiness 
as to my own soul). But if by your Grace's means {of 
whose piety and worthy disposition I have heard so much 
good) the humble suit of a distressed suppliant (prostrate , 
at his Majesty's feet) may be offered up, I hope it shall 
be found not unfit for your Grace to offer, and most fit 
and reasonable for so wise and righteous a Prince to grant. 

" My humble petition is only this. That, whereas I 
have protested before God and the world, I was not privy 
to that horrible Plot of destroying the King's Majesty and 
his posterity, &c., by powder (wherewith I am now so 
publicly taxed in the proclamation), that full trial may 
be made, whether I be guilty therein or not. And if so 
it be proved, that then all shame and pain may light upon 
me ; but if the truth appear on the contrary side, that 
then I may be cleared from this so grievous an infamation 
and punishment not deserved. Two kinds of proofs may 
be made in this cause, which I humbly beseech your Grace, 
for God's cause, may be performed. One is, that all the 
principal conspirators {with whom I am said to have prac- 
tised the foresaid Plot of Powder against the Parliament 
House) may be asked at their death, -as they will answer 
at the dreadful tribunal unto which they are going, whether 
ever they did impart the matter to me, or I practise the 
same with them in the least degree, or whether they can 
but say of their knowledge that I did know of it. And 
I know it will then appear that no one of them will accuse 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 419 

me, if it be not apparent they do it in hope of life, but do 
give signs that they die in the fear of God and hope of 
their salvation. 

" And as by this trial it will appear (in this time most 
fit for saying truth) that there is not sufficient witness 
against me, so I humbly desire also trial may be made 
by examining a witness, who can, if he will, fully clear 
me, and I hope he will not deny me that right, especially 
being' ... the place of right and justice himself Sir 
Everard Digby can testify for me, how ignorant I was of 
any such matter but two days before that unnatural par- 
ricide should have been practised. I have, for full trial 
thereof, enclosed a letter unto him, which I humbly be- 
seech may be delivered before your Grace and the other 
two lords, whose favour and equity I have likewise humbly 
entreated by these letters unto them. All which I am 
bold to direct unto your Grace's hands, presuming upon 
your gracious furtherance, not having other means, in this 
my distressed case, to have them severally delivered. God 
of His goodness will reward, I hope, in full measure, this 
your Grace's favour and pity showed to an innocent 
wrongly accused, who would rather suffer any death than 
not to be found ever faithful to God and his Sovereign. 

"John Gerard. 
"This 23rd of January." 

Addressed—" To the Right Honourable the Duke of 
Lenox, these deliver." 

Endorsed in Cecil's hand—" Gerard the Jesuit to the 
Duke of Lenox." 

" Right Honourable,— Although I can expect no other 
from one in your place, but that you should permit the 
course of justice to proceed against any that are proved 
guilty of treason to his Majesty and the State, especially 
in so foul and unnatural a treason as was lately discovered, 
' Here the paper is torn, and three or four words are consequently iUegible. 

Hosted by 


420 Life of Father John Gerard, 

yet I cannot but hope where there is so much wisdom, and 
so vigilant a care for the preservation of this State, your 
lordship will also be pleased to hear, and forward to make 
trial, who may be wrongfully accused, knowing right well 
that it is as necessary in any Government to protect the 
innocent as to punish the offenders. 

"What proof there is of my accusation I know not, 
and therefore cannot answer it. But this 1 know : that 
none can truly produce the least proof that ever I was 
made privy to that treason of which I am accused, and 
much less a practiser with the principal conspirators in 
the same, as I am denounced to be. Therefore, sith I 
know not my accusers, God I hope will be judge between 
them and me, to Whom I refer my cause, and in Whom 
my trust is, and ever shall be. that He will right me. 

" In the meantime my humble request is, that your 
lordship, who have been so often seen to be pitiful towards 
any in distress, and a potent helper to those who were 
oppressed (a special ornament in so eminent a person, 
and much commended and rewarded by God Himself), 
will show your accustomed commiseration in my case, 
and afford me therein such audience as may be sufficient 
to make trial of my innocency. Wherein your lordship 
shall imitate the just proceeding of the highest Lord, from 
Whom both yourself, and all that govern, have all your 
power. For God Himself, although He know all things 
before He call us to account, yet, to give us the form of 
just proceeding, is said in Holy Scripture to be ever careful 
in hearing what the accused can say for himself before 
He proceeds to give sentence. So we read that God said 
to Abraham, 'Clamor Sodomorum, &c., multiplicatus est, 
&c., descendam et indebo %iirum clamorem qui veiiit ad me 
opere compleverint, an non est ita, ut sciam' So again in 
the Gospel when He heard a complaint against His 
steward, He would not proceed against him without full 
audience, but called him and said, ' Quid km audio de ie ? 

.Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 421 

redde rationem vilHcationis tua' These most high and 
worthy examples I trust your lordship will follow in my 
case, as you have been known to do with others. And 
then I doubt not but that shall appear true which I have 
most sincerely protested before God and the world. 

" My humble petition therefore is, that a witness may 
be asked his knowledge who is well able to clear me if 
he will, and I hope he will not be so unjust in this time 
of his own danger as to conceal so needful a proof being 
so demanded of him. Sir Everard Digby doth well know 
how far I was from knowledge of any such matter but 
two days before the treason was known to all men. I 
have therefore written a letter unto him, to require his 
testimony of that which passed between him and me at 
that time. Wherein, if I may have your lordship's further- 
ance to have just trial made of the truth whilst yet he 
liveth, I shall ever esteem myself most deeply bound to 
pray for your lordship's happiness both in this world and 
in the next. In which hope I will rest, your lordship's 
prone and humble suppliant, never to be proved false to 
King and country, 

"John Gerard. 
" This 23rd of January." 

Addressed— "I0 the Right Honourable the Earl of 
Salisbury, Principal Secretary to his Majesty, these." 

Endorsed in Cecil's hand—" Gerard the Jesuit to my 

"Sir Everard Digby,— I presume so much of your 
sincerity both to God and man, that I cannot fear you 
will be ioth to utter your knowledge for the clearing of 
one that is innocent from a most unjust accusation, im- 
porting both loss of life to him that is accused, and of his 
good name also, which he much more esteemeth. 

"So it is that upon some false information (given, as 
I suppose, by some base fellows, desirous to save their 

Hosted by 


422 Life of Father John Gerard. 

lives by the loss of their honesty) there is come forth a 
proclamation against my Superior, and one other of the 
Society, and myself, as against three notorious practisers 
with divers of the principal conspirators in this late most 
odious treason of destroying the King's Majesty and all 
in the Parliament House with powder. And myself am 
put in the first place, as the first or chiefest offender 

" Now God I call to witness, Who must be my Judge, 
that I did never know of it before the rumour of the 
country brought it to the place where I was, after the 
treason was publicly discovered. And if this protestation 
be not sincerely true, without any equivocation, and the 
words thereof so understood by me, as they sound to 
others, I neither desire nor expect any favour at God's 
hand when I shall stand before His tribunal. But because 
this protestation doth only clear me in their opinion who 
are so persuaded of my conscience that they think I would 
not condemn my sou! to save my body (which I hope by 
God's grace shall never be my mind) : therefore, to give more 
full proof of my innocency to those also who may doubt 
the truth of my words, I take witness to yourself whether 
you, upon your certain knowledge, cannot clear me. I 
wrote a letter before Christmas which I hoped would be 
sufficient to have cleared me ; wherein, beside a most 
serious protestation (such as no honest man can use if he 
were guilty, as for my part my conscience doth persuade 
me), I alleged some other reasons which did make it more 
than probable, in my opinion, that I was neither to be 
charged with this late treason, nor chargeable with former 
dealing in State matters. But I did of purpose forbear 
this proof (which now I allege), although I did assure 
myself it would clear me from all just suspicion of being 
privy to that last and greatest treason ; and I did forbear 
to set it down, in regard I would not take knowledge of 
any personal acquaintance with you, especially at your 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 423 

own house, not knowing how far you were to be touched 
for your life, and therefore would not add unto your 
danger. But now that it appears by your confession and 
trial in the country that you stand at the King's mercy 
for greater matters than your acquaintance with a priest, 
I hope you wil! not be loth I should publish that which 
cannot hurt you, and may help myself in a matter of such 
importance. And as I know you could never like to stoop 
to so base and unworthy a humour as to flatter or dis- 
semble with any man, so much less can I fear that now 
(being in the case you are in) you can ever think it fit 
to dissemble with God, or not to utter your every know- 
ledge, being required as from Him, and in the behalf of 
truth. Therefore I desire you will bear witness of the 
truth which foUoweth {if it be true that I affirm of my 
demand to you, growing upon my ignorance in the matter 
then in hand) as you expect truth and mercy at God's 
hand hereafter. 

" First, I desire you to bear witness whether, coming 
to your house upon All Souls' Day last, before dinner, 
with intention and hope to celebrate there, and finding 
all things hid out of the way and many of your household 
gone, you did not perceive me to be astonished at it, as 
a thing much contrary to my expectation. Whereupon I 
asked you what was become of them. And when you 
told me you had sent them into Warwickshire, and your 
hounds also, and yourself were going presently after, about 
a hunting match which you had made, though I seemed 
satisfied for the present because a stranger was there with 
you, yet whether I did not soon after (when I had com- 
pared many particulars together which seemed strange 
unto me) draw you into a chamber apart, and there urge 
you to tell me what was the reason both of that sudden 
alteration in your house and of divers other things which 
I had observed before, but did not until then reflect upon 
them so much, as, for example, the number of horses that 

Hosted by 


f 424 Life of Father John Gerard. 

you had not long before in your stable, the sums of money 
which I had been told you had made of your stock and 
grounds, which (said I) in one of your judgment and 
provident care of your estate, are not Hkely to be done 
without some great cause, and seemed to think you had 
something in hand for the Catholic cause. Your answer 
was, 'No, there was nothing in hand that you knew of, 
or could tell me of And when I replied that I had some 
fear of it by those signs, considering you would not hurt 
your estate so much in likelihood without some cause 
equivalent {for I knew very well you meant to pay the 
statute, and so stood not in fear of losing your stock), 
and therefore willed you to look well that you followed 
counsel in your proceedings, or else you might hurt both 
, yourself and the cause, your answer was (which I have 

remembered often since), 'That you respected the Catholic 
cause much more than your own commodity, as it should 
well appear whensoever you undertook anything' I asked 
you once again whether, then, there were anything to be 
done, and whether you expected any help by foreign power, 
whereunto you answered, holding up the end of your finger, 
that you would not adventure so much in hope thereof. 
Then I said, ' I pray God you follow counsel in your doings. 
If there be any matter in hand, doth Mr. Walley [Father 
Garnet] know of it ? * You answered, ' In truth, I 
think he doth not.' Then I said further, 'In truth, Sir 
Everard Digby, if there should be anything in hand, and 
that you retire yourself and company into Warwickshire, 
as into a place of most safety, I should think you did not 
perform the part of a friend to some of your neighbours 
not far off, and persons that, as you know, deserve every 
respect, and to whom you have professed much friendship, 
that they are left behind, and have not any warning to 
make so much provision for their own safety as were 
needful in such a time, but to defend themselves from 
rogues.' Your answer was (as I will be sworn), ' I warrant 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 425 

you it shall not need.' And so you gave me assurance 
that, if there had been anything needful for them or me 
to know, you would assuredly have told me. So I rested 
satisfied and parted from you, and after that I never saw 
you nor any of the conspirators. These were my questions 
unto you. And thus dear I was from the knowledge of 
that Plot against the Parliament House, whereof, notwith- 
standing, I am accused and proclaimed to be a practiser 
with the principal conspirators. But I refer me to God 
and your conscience, who are able to clear me, and I 
challenge the conscience of any one that certainly ex- 
pecteth death, and desireth to die in the fear of God and 
with hope of his salvation, to accuse me of it if he can. 
God, of His mercy, grant unto us all grace to see and do 
His will, and to live and die His servants, for they only 
are and shall be happy for ever. 

" Your companion in tribulation, though not in the 

"John Gerard." 

Postscript. — " I hope you will also witness with me 
that you have ever seen me much averted from such 
violent courses, and hopeful rather of help by favour than 
by force. And, indeed, if I had not now been satisfied 
by your assurance that there was nothing in hand, it 
should presently have appeared how much I had misliked 
any forcible attempts, the counsel of Christ and the com- 
mandment of our superiors requiring the contrary, and 
that in patience we should possess our souls." 

Addressed — " To Sir Everard Digby, prisoner in the 

Endorsed in Cecil's hand — " Gerard the priest to Sir 
Everard Digby." 

From Father Bartoli' we take a letter written from 
Rome, twenty-five years after the Powder Plot, addressed 
■ InghUlerrSy lib. vi. cap. 6, p. 513. 

Hosted by 


426 Life of Father John Gerard. 

by Father Gerard to Dr. Smith, Bishop of Chalcedon, and 
Vicar Apostolic of England. The translation from Bar- 
toJi's Italian version is a very old one ; the date of the 
letter is September i, 1630. 

"My Lord,— Not long since I received information 
that a manuscript dissertation, with the title of Brevis 
Inquisiiio, &c., had been circulated in your parts ; in the 
course of which it is pretended that a certain person con- 
tinues to glory, to the present day, that by working under 
ground in the mine of Mr. Catesby and other conspirators, 
by excavating and carrying out the soil with his own 
hands, he has often found his shirt wet through and 
dripping with sweat as copiously as if it had been dragged 
through a river ; and that this person is no other than 
myself, according to the opinion expressed in the letter. 
I despised such an idle tale as undeserving of an answer, 
knowing it, as most others must know it, to be not only 
most false, but, moreover, most remote from probability 
I only begged of a good priest, who was setting out for 
England, to make known to your lordship what I had 
heard concerning such a deed laid to my charge, so con- 
trary to all truth and Justice; and that I hoped you would 
not give credit to it, but rather on hearing it mentioned 
by any one, would show the falsehood as it is. But in 
the meantime, while the priest is yet on his journey, I 
have learned from good authority that the book has been 
printed and published, curtailed indeed of that story, which 
is, however, circulated in manuscript through the hands 
of many, with every circumstance and embellishment; 
whence has arisen the general opinion that I am the 
person there spoken of, the testimony of a priest being 
alleged, who says that he has heard me boast of it. Truly 
I cannot sufficiently express my astonishment on per- 
ceiving that there can be found a Catholic, and if a priest 
so much the worse, who has so shameless a conscience 

Hosted by 


Tfte Gunpowder Plot. 427 

as to dare assert what he must necessarily know to be 
false, and injurious to one who never did him any harm 
or injury whatever. This I can affirm of myself with 
respect to every priest in England, to many of whom I 
have often afforded assistance, but, to my knowledge, have 
never offended one. Your lordship, moreover, must be 
aware how very improbable it is that I should boast of 
a crime so false, so horrible. Now, with all due reverence, 
I call God to witness that I had no more knowledge of 
the conspiracy than a new-born infant might have ; that 
I never heard any one mention it ; that I had not even 
a suspicion of the provision of gunpowder for the mine, 
excepting only when the Plot was detected, made public, 
and known to every one, and when the conspirators ap- 
peared openly in arms in the county of Warwick ; then 
only did I hear of it for the first time, by a message 
brought to the place where I resided ; and this place 
was so ill provided that of itself it proved I could have 
no knowledge of the conspiracy, either from the expres- 
sions of others or from my own suspicions; there being 
in that place neither men nor arms sufficient to defend 
us from the marauders, who on every occasion of similar 
commotions issue forth and unite in bodies for plunder. 
Neither did this happen for want of sufficient means to 
furnish and reinforce the house with men and arms, but 
solely because we had no suspicion of a commotion, much 
less any knowledge of a conspiracy. Besides this, the 
accomplices in the Plot were subjected to the most 
rigorous examination, and questioned concerning me ; 
and although some of them under the torture named one 
or others of those who were privy to the conspiracy, never- 
theless all constantly denied it of me. Sir Everard Digby, 
who, of all the others, for many reasons, was most sus- 
pected of having possibly revealed the secret to me, pro- 
tested in open court and declared that he had often been 
instigated to say I knew something of the Plot, but that 

Hosted by 


428 Life of Father John Gerard. 

he had always answered in the negative, alleging the 
reason why he had never dared to disclose it to me, be- 
cause, he said, he feared lest I should dissuade him from 
it. Therefore the greater part of the Privy Councillors 
considered my innocence established, it being proved by 
the concurrent testimony of so many, and by a letter in 
which I defended and cleared myself from such a ground- 
less suspicion. In that letter, besides the reasons therein 
produced in proof of my innocence, I protested before 
Heaven and earth that, so far from being engaged in the 
conspiracy, I was as ignorant of it as man could be. 
Being at that time in imminent danger of falling into the 
hands of the Privy Councillors, who with the most refined 
diligence sent in every direction in quest of me, I had 
thoughts of surrendering myself up to every torment 
imaginable, and what is more to be regarded, to the 
terrible and disgraceful charge of perjury, if having me 
in their power they eould convict me, by legal proof, of 
being privy to the conspiracy. There was a time when, 
under Elizabeth, they held me prisoner for something 
more than three years, during which period, many times 
and in as many ways as they chose, did they examine 
me, to discover in general if I had ever meddled in affairs 
of State. I challenged them to produce in proof a single 
character in my hand, a single word, or anything else 
sufficient to show it, and then to punish me when con- 
victed with the most cruel death that could be inflicted. 
There never was brought forward the smallest trace or 
shadow of a proof How much more improbable is it 
that I should consent to a Plot so inhuman, I who, from 
the natural disposition of my soul, independently of super- 
natural motives, hold in abhorrence everything that has 
the smallest appearance of cruelty This I can a/Brm 
with truth, that from the time I first embraced the pro- 
fession of life in which I am engaged, down to the present 
moment, I have never, by Gods mercy, desired the 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 439 

grievous harm, much less the death, of any man in the 
world, although he may have been my most inveterate 
enemy : how could I then have had any hand or part in 
the sudden, unexpected, and on that account tremendous 
death of so many personages of such high quality, for 
whom I have ever borne the greatest respect, A person 
was employed to scatter copies of my forementioned letter 
through various streets of London, and one in particular 
was delivered to the Ear! of Northampton, and by him 
laid before the King, on whom my reasons so far prevailed 
to his satisfaction that he would have desisted from the 
rigorous search made after me, had not Cecil, for his own 
private ends, rendered him more violent than ever. For 
being persuaded that some of the conspirators had plotted 
against his life in particular, and knowing that most of 
them were my friends, he hoped if he could onae lay hold 
of me, to find out from me how many and who were the 
conspirators. For this sole reason he never rested until 
he had again persuaded the King, as a thing evidently 
known to him and clearly demonstrated, that I was not 
only an accomplice, but the ringleader in the Plot, and 
therefore to be the first named in the proclamation ; which 
was so done. Perceiving from this that the persecution 
was not likely to abate, and that I might be discovered 
and arrested, I took the advice to withdraw myself for 
a time, and to 'give place to wrath,' and, after so many 
years of hard labour in England, with the Apostles 'to 
come apart into a desert place and rest a little ' : nor was 
there any other principal motive of my leaving the king- 
dom. In fine, this is the simple naked truth ; I was 
totally ignorant of the provision of gunpowder and of the 
mine ; I was and I am as innocent of this and of every 
other conspiracy as your lordship or any other man living ; 
and this I affirm and swear upon my soul, without any 
equivocation whatsoever ; in such sort, that if the facts 
do not correspond truly to the meaning of the words, or 

Hosted by 


430 Life of Father John Gerard. 

if I had any information of the foremen ti on ed Plot before 
it was made public to the whole world, as I have before 
said, I own myself guilty of perjury before God and men ; 
and as far as it is true that I had no knowledge of it, so 
far and no more do I ask mercy at the throne of God : 
and it is very probable that it will not be long before I 
must appear at the divine tribunal, considering my age 
and the present contagion in the neighbourhood ; for if 
it should reach us it is hardly possible I can escape, on 
account of the assistance which it is my duty to render 
to this Community, whose souls are committed to my 
care,' Therefore I am induced to hope that your lord- 
ship will not consider me so careless and prodigal of my 
eternal salvation, after having spent so many years in no 
other employment than that of seeking to know and to 
accomplish, the wil! of God, and of teaching the same to 
others, as to be now willing to burthen my conscience 
and risk the salvation of my soul by a protestation so 
solemn and spontaneous, if my conscience were not pure, 
my cause evident, and my words true in all sincerity. 
Now, as I doubt not that God, the Supreme Judge, Who 
sees and knows all things, will pass sentence on my cause 
according to its merits, so I hope that your lordship, now 
knowing me to be innocent, will not wish me to appear 
guilty, by permitting to stand against me without con- 
tradiction an accusation so false and of such enormous 
infamy. Since this accusation derives its greatest force 
from the authority of your Jordship, who, it is publicly 
said, gives credit and support to it, I beseech you, by that 
love which you have for charity and justice, to oppose the 
falsity of the calumny by the truth of this my justification 
With respect to the priest, whoever he may be, by whose 
false allegation your lordship appears to have been de- 
ceived, I desire with all my heart he may meet with true 
repentance before he dies, so that we may all live together 
and love God in a blessed eternity." 

' He was then Confessor in the English College at Rome. 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 431 

Next, we find, in Father Henry Mo're's History of t/ie 
English Province SJ.,^ a letter from Father Thomas Fitz- 
herbert, Rector of the English College at Rome, of which 
house Father Gerard was then Confessor. It is not neces- 
sary for us to translate it from his Latin version, as it 
exists in English amongst the Stonyhurst MSS.^ It is 
dated some months later than the foregoing letter of 
Father Gerard, and was sent by Mutius Vitelleschi, General 
of the Society, to the Bishop of Chalcedon, by the hands 
of Fathers Henry Floyd and Thomas Babthorpe, who 
were at the same time bearers of a second letter from 
Father Gerard to Bishop Smith, extracts from which we 
subjoin, translated from Bartoli.^ 

" Right Rev, and my honourable good Lord, — Having 
understood that one of our Society hath been of late 
traduced, tacito nomine, in a printed book as to have 
bragged that he had sweat in working in the Powder Plot, 
and that your lordship have named him, and as it seemeth, 
dost believe him to be Father John Gerard, I think myself 
obliged to represent to your lordship's consideration some 
things concerning him, and that matter, as well in respect 
of the common bond of our rehgion and his great merits, 
as also for that he is at this present under my charge 
(albeit I acknowledge myself unworthy to have such a 
subject), and lastly for the knowledge I have had many 
years of his innocency in that point ever since that 
slanderous calumny was first raised by the heretics against 
him, at which time I myself and many other of his friends 
and kinsmen did very diligently and curiously inform 
ourselves of the truth thereof, and found that he was fully- 
cleared of it even by the public and solemn testimony of 
the delinquents themselves, namely, of Sir Everard Digby 
(with whom he was known to be most familiar and con- 
fident), who publicly protested at his arraignment that he 

' Lib. vii. 
' AHgl.A. vol. iv, n. 92, 

Hosted by 


432 Life of Father John Gerard. 

did never acquaint liim witli tiieir design, being assured 
tliat lie would not lil^c of it, but dissuade him from it ; 
and of tliis I can show good testimony by letters from 
London written hither at the same time, bearing date the 
29th of January, in the year 1606. Therefore, to the end 
that your lordship may the better believe it, I have thought 
good to show the same to some very credible persons, who 
are shortly to depart from hence, and do mean to present 
themselves to your lordship, of whom you may (if it please 
you) understand the truth of it. Besides that for your 
better satisfaction, I have also by our right reverend Father 
General's express order and commission, commanded him 
in their presence upon obedience (which commandment 
we hold by our Rule and Institute to bind, under pain 
of mortal sin) to declare the truth whether he had any 
knowledge of that Powder Plot or no, and he hath in 
their presence protested upon his salvation, that he had 
never any knowledge of it, eitlier by Sir Evcrard Digby, 
or any other, until it was discovered, and that he came to 
l<now it by common fame ; besides that [he] alleged many 
pregnant proofs of his innocency therein, which I omit to 
write, because he himself doth represent them to your 
lordship by a letter of his own ; and of this also the wit- 
nesses aforesaid may inform your lordship if you be not 
othenvays satisiied. In the meantime, I have only thought 
it my part to give this my testimony of his solemn pro- 
testation and oath, and withal to send to your lordship 
the enclosed copies of two clauses of letters from England 
and Flanders touching tiiis matter, not doubting but that 
your lordship's charity will move you to admit the same 
as sufficient to clear him of that calumny, seeing there was 
never any proof produced against him, nor yet any ground 
of that slander but the malicious conceit and suspicion of 
heretics, by reason of his acquaintance with some of the 
deUnquents, in which case a solemn protestation and oath, 
as he hath freely and voluntarily made, may sufHce both 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 435 

in conscience and law for a canonical purgation to clear 
him from all suspicion as well of that fact as of all collusion 
or double dealing in this his protestation, especially seeing 
that he hath always been not only tntegerrim<B fames, but 
also of singular estimation in England for his many years' 
most zealous and fruitful labours there, and his constant 
suffering of imprisonment and torments for the Catholic 
faith. Besides that, he hath been ever since a worthily 
esteemed and principal member of our Society, and given 
sufficient proof of a most religious and sincere conscience, 
to the edification of us all. This being considered, I 
cannot but hope that your lordship will rest satisfied of 
his innocency in this point, and out of your chanty procure 
also to satisfy others who may have, by any speech of 
your lordship's, conceived worse of him than he hath 
deserved ; for so your lordship shall provide as well for 
the reparation of his fame as for the discharge of your 
own conscience, being bound both by justice and charity 
to restitution in this case, as I make no doubt but that 
your lordship would judge if it were another man's case ; 
yea, and exact also of others if the like wrong had been 
done either to yourself, or to any kinsman, dear friend, or 
subject of yours, all which he is to me ; and, therefore, I 
am the bolder, I will not say to expect this at your lord- 
ship's hands (because it doth not become me), but humbly 
to crave it of you as a thing which I shall take for a 
favour, no less to myself than to the Society; and so 
this to no other end, I humbly take my leave, wishing 
to your lordship all true felicity, this 15th of March, 1631. 
" Your lordship's humble servant, 


" Ex literis P. JEgiAn Schondonchii Seminarii Audo- 
marensis Rectoris i Martii 1606: 

" ' Dum has scribo accepi literas recentissirae datas a 
viro claro quibus significavit Dominum Everardum Dig- 


Hosted by 


434 Life of Fat Iter John Gerard. 

bsum. dum a Judicibus pronuntiaretur in eum mortis 
sententia, coram eisdem protestatum esse nullum penitus 
in Anglia Jesuitam hujus rei fuisse conscium. Nam, inquit, 
familiaris Patri Gerardo si quis alius, neque unquam ausus 
fui indicare tantillum, veritus ne conaretur frangere nostras 
conatus. Itaque sancte asseruit se id solo ex puro Catho- 
licas ac Romanse Ecclesi^ zelo neque ullo alio humano 
respectu suscepisse,' 

" Out of the letter of Father Michael Walpok written 
to Father Persons, the 29th of January, 1606 : 

'"Touching Gerard's letter which I have seen, I can 
only say this much, that it seemeth to me to be so 
effectual, as nothing can be more, so that I am fully 
persuaded that the King's Majesty himself and the whole 
Council remain satisfied of him [in] their own hearts, and 
his Majesty is reported for certain to have declared so 
much in words upon the sight of his letter.' 

" In the end, after his name, he writeth as followeth : 

'"This letter is confirmed since by Sir Everard Digby's 
speech at his arraignment, in which he cleared all Jesuits 
and priests (to his knowledge) upon his salvation. And 
in particular, that though he was particularly acquainted 
with Gerard, yet he never durst mention this matter, being 
fully assured that he would be wholly against it, to which 
my Lord of Salisbury replied, affirming the contrary, and 
that he knew him to be guiity.'" 

The first extract of the letter enclosed from Father 
Gerard runs thus : 

" It is known to ali how those of my blood have loved 
and served King James. My father knew it to his cost, 
for he was twice imprisoned for attempting to set free the 
glorious Queen Mary, the King's mother, and to secure 
the succession to her children : which intent of his own 
was so clear to the Ministers of State, that besides im- 

Hosted by 


The Gunpowder Plot. 435 

prisonment, to purchase his life of them cost him some 
thousands of crowns, especially the first time when there 
were but three accused and he one of them, and of the 
other two, one lost his life. Of all which King James 
was mindful when he came from Scotland to be crowned 
King of England, and my brother at York offered him 
his service and that of all his house. ' I am particularly 
bound,' said he, 'to love your blood, on account of the 
persecution that you have borne for me,' and of that his 
love he there gave him the first pledge by making him a 
knight." I 

The remaining extract concludes our series of excul- 
patory letters : 

" I send your lordship a copy of the three letters that 
I wrote to three Councillors of State, that you may see in 
them how I trusted to my innocence, when I ofltred to 
put it to the proof in the two ways which I there proposed 
to them. Further than this, though the conspirators had 
been put to death, and I saw that the course proposed by 
me to the Councillors was not accepted, while the matter 
was fresh, and I yet in London, I requested of our Fathers 
that I might present myself in person to the Council of 
State, which I would have done had they but given me 
leave ; and if the Council would have proceeded against 
me, not on the score of rehgion, but for the conspiracy 
only, which alone was in question, and for which, if they 
had found me guilty of it, they might have done to me 
their very worst. This request I can swear that I made 
and renewed several times to our Fathers, and there are 
some yet alive who can bear witness to it ; but it did not 
seem good to them to consent to it" 

The matter does not seem to have rested here, unless 
there is some mistake in a date, for Dr. Lingard^ quotes 

■ Barloli, InghiUerra, lib. vi. c. 6, p. 510. 
' History of England, ed. 1849, vol. vii. p. 549. 

Hosted by 


436 Life of Father John Gerard. 

from a MS. copy,' dated April 17, 163 r, an affidavit made 
by Anthony Smith, a secular priest, before the Bishop of 
Chalcedon, "that in his hearing, Gerard had said in the 
Novitiate at Liege, that he worked in the mine with the 
lay conspirators till his clothes were as wet with perspira- 
tion as if they had been dipped in water ; and that the 
general condemnation of the Plot was chiefly owing to 
its bad success, as had often happened to the attempts 
of unfortunate generals in war." It would seem as if this 
■were the original accusation, in answer to which the letter 
given above was written and that its date should be 1632. 
This would be the date if, though written in Rome, it was 
in Old Style. Of the attack on Father Gerard, Dr. Lingard 
says, " For my own part, upon having read what he wrote 
in his own vindication, I cannot doubt his innocence, and 
suspect that Smith unintentionally attributed to him what 
he had heard him say of some other person."^ 

■ There are copies in the archives of ihe See of Westminster. The dale of 
the following is later than Ihal quoted by Ur. Lingard. 

"Copia, Ego infrascriptus teslor me audivisse P. Joanncm Gerardiim 
Societatis Jesu, dum Superior esset in Noviliatu Anglicano Leodii, jactantem 
quod dum foderet sub domo Parlamentaria Londini una cum aliis in actione 
pulvecaria ipsius et eorum indusia erant ita madida sudore ac .si ejt aqua 
fmssent extracta. Londini 22 Junii 1631. Anthoncub Smith^us. 

" Concordat cum originali. Iia teslor, G. FARiiAKUS Not^. Aposts " 

Endorsed in the handwriting of the Bishop of Chalcedon "Wet shirt in 

= There is a lelter exlanl from Father Blount, the Provincial, to Ihe 
General, dated Feb. 10, 1632, which has been understood to relate to the 
accusation against Father Gerard, or to a similar accusation against some 
other member of the Society. It must, however, relate to some other matter, 
as it says. "Vivit enim adhuc author ipse criminls," and that the alleged 
offence took place live years before the entrance into the Society of the Father 
in question. 

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Note to Chapter XXXI. 

Before we close this subject, we think it desirable to answer in 
detail two particular accusations that have been brought against 
Father Gerard's veracity by a modem writer. Canon Tiemey says : ' 
"To show how very little reliance can be placed on the asseverations 
of Gerard when employed in his own vindication, it is only right to 
observe that, referring to this transaction" [the Communion of tfie 
conspirators after their oath of secresy] " in his manuscript narra- 
tive, he lirst boldly and very projjerly asserts, on the authority of 
Winter's confession, that the priest who administered the Sacra- 
ment was not privy to the designs of the conspirators ; and then 
ignorant of Fawkes' declaration which had not been published, and 
supposing that his name had not transpired, as that of the clergy- 
man who had otficiated upon the occasion, he returns at once to 
the artifice which I have elsewhere noticed, of substituting a third 
person as the narrator, and solemnly protests on his salvation that 
he knows not the priest from whom Catesby and his associates 
received the Communion ! " 

Dr. Lingard also says simply that the Communion was 
received by the conspirators "from the hand of the Jesuit 
missionary Father Gerard,"" apparently unconscious that he had 
ever denied it. 

We have little doubt that the house in which the oath of 
secrecy was taken and holy Communion received, was really 
Father Gerard's house. The "house in the fields behind St. 
Clement's Inn," as Fawkes calls it ; " behind St. Clement's," as 
it appears in Winter's confession, seems to be tlie house described 
by Father Gerard as that which he occupied up to the time of the 
Powder Plot, " nearer the principal street in London, called the 
Strand,"3 in which street most of his friends lived. But he was 
not the only priest that lived in that house. At least two other 

' Dodd's Chunk HUlory, ed. Tiemey, vol. iv. p. 44, note. 
^ History cf England, ed. 1849, vol. vii. p. 44, 
3 Sulru, p. 360, 

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43^ Life of Father fohn Gerard. 

priests' resided habitually with him. One was Father Strange, 
who was in the Tower when the Autobiography was written ; the 
other, whose name he does not give, " was thrown into Bridewell, 
and was afterwards banished, together with other priests." Then 
there was also Thomas Laithwaite,' a priest, who afterwards became 
a Jesuit, who frequented the house if he did not live there. Father 
Gerard says, "There I should long have remained, free from all 
peril or even suspicion, if some friends of mine, while I was 
absent from London, had not availed themselves of the house 
rather rashly." What meaning can this have but that Catholics 
were allowed, in Father Gerard's absence, to come to the house 
to receive the Sacraments, so freely that it became widely known 
that it was his house? 

Immediately after binding themselves by oath to secrecy, the 
minds of the conspirators must have been preoccupied with the 
thoughts of the tremendous undertaking to which they had just 
pledged themselves ; and it is very unlikely that mention should 
be made, in subsequent conversation among them, of the name 
of the priest, whom they had only seen at the altar, especially as 
he "was not acquainted with their purpose."^ The only two 
conspirators who mention Father Gerard's name are Fawkes and 
Thomas Winter. Fawkes was a stranger, who had "spent most of 
his time in the wars of Flanders, which is the cause that he was 
less known here in England."' We have no trace of any personal 
intercourse between Thomas Winter and Father Gerard. What 
can have been more natural than that they should have been told 
to meet at Father Gerard's house, and that those who did not 
know him by sight should have concluded that it was Father 
Gerard's Mass that they heard ? It surely is more probable that 
they should have been mistaken in a name than that Father 
Gerard should have been guilty of perjury in contradicting, from 
a place of safety, that which was no accusation against him, but a 
harmless statement that, in ignorance of the oath taken, he had 
given Communion to certain Catholics. 

■ Supra p. 38Z. 

" Supra p. 386. 

' Fawkes' confession, P.R.O., Gimpowdef Fltit Book, n. 54. 

* Cotiditioit of Calholiis, "Nairalive of Ihe Gunpowder Plot," p. 59. 

Hosted by 


Nole to Chapter XXXI. 439 

Fawkes' confession was extorted by torture. King James had 
given orders, " The gentler tortours are to be first usid unto him, 
el sic per gradas ad ima tenditur, and so God speede your goode 
worL"! Fawkes was under none of the "gentler tortures " when 
in a tremulous hand he wrote " Guido " on that declaration. 
"The prisoner is supposed to have fainted before completing"' 
the signature. Before the words exculpating Father Gerard from 
all knowledge of the conspirators' purpose, the word Hucusque 
appears in the handwriting of Sir Edward Coke, who has under- 
lined the sentence in red. The ideas of justice of this great 
lawyer permitted him to publish the mention there made of 
Father Gerard's name, and to suppress the statement of his inno- 
cence. There is also a red line drawn beneath the following 
words in Thomas Winter s e an nat on " But Gerard knew not 
of the provision of the po der to h s knowledge.''^ 

The second accusat on brought by the same writer,* is 
couched as follows : " Rel) ng upo the fidelity of Gerard, who 
declares upon his cense that he has ' set down Father 

Garnet's words truly and smcerely as they lie in his letter,' 
Dr. Lingard has printed what is given by that writer, and from it 
has argued, with Greenway, that Garnet on the 4th of October, 
the date assigned to it both by Gerard and Greenway, was still 
ignorant of the nature of the Plot, The truth, however, is, that 
although the letter was written on ihefourlh, the postscript was not 
added until the twenty-first of October ; that from this postscript 
the two Jesuit writers have selected a sentence, which they have 
transferred to the body of the letter ; and then, concealing both 
the existence of the postscript and the date of the zist, 
have represented the whole as written and dispatched on the 
4th. The motive for this proceeding, especially on the part of 
Greenway, is obvious. That writer's argument is, that the 
Parliament had been summoned to meet on the 3rd of October, 
that Garnet had not heard of the intention to prorogue it to the 
following month (this, to say the least, is very improbable) ; that, 

■ In the King's own hand. P.R.O., Gunpmodcr Hot Book, n. 17. 

' Calendar of Stale Papers, by M. E. Green. James I. 1603—10, p. 247. 

3 P.R.O., Gunpneder Plot Book, n. 164. 

* Dodd's Church History, by Tiemey, vol. ir. p. cii. 

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44° Life of Fatker Jolm Gerard. 

tor anything he conld have known to the contrary, the great blow 
had already been struck, at the very time when he was writing; 
and, consequently, that, had he been acquainted with the inten- 
tion of Catesby and his confederates, he would never, at such a 
moment, have thought of proceeding, as he says he was about to 
proceed, towards London, and thus exposing himself to the 
almost inevitable danger of falling into the hands of his enemies. 
... Now the whole of this reasoning is founded on the assump- 
tion that the letter bore only the single date of the 4th. On the 
2ist, the supposed danger of a journey to London no longer 
existed. At that period, too. Garnet, instead of proceeding 
towards the metropolis, had not only removed in the opposite 
direction, from Goathurst, in Buckinghamshire, to Harrowden, 
the seat of Lord Vaux, in Northamptonshire, but was also 
preparing to withdraw himself still further from the capital, and by 
the end of the month, was actually at Coughton, in the neighbour- 
hood of Alcester. In fact, what was written on the 4th, he had 
practically contradicted on the jtst, and to have allowed any part 
of the letter, therefore, to carry this later date, would have been 
to supply the refutation of the very argument which it was 
intended to support Hence the expedient to which this writer 
has had recourse. The postscript and its date are carefully 
suppressed ; and we are told that, looking at the contents of the 
letter, Garnet, when he wrote it, could have known nothing of 
the designs of the conspirator: 'Quando scrisse questa 
lettera, che fu alii quattro d'Ottobre, non sapeva niente del 
disegno di questi gentilhuomini, altro che il sospetto che 
prima havea havnto." Without stopping to notice the false- 
hood contained in the concluding words of this sentence, and 
without intending to offer an opinion here, as to the principal 
question of Garnet's conduct, I may still remark that even the 
friends of that Jesuit universally admit him to have received the 
details of the plot from Greenway about the arst; and that this 
fact alone may be regarded as supplying another and a sufficient 
motive both to the latter and to Gerard, for the suppression of 
that date." 

This note by Canon Tierney produced its effect on Dr. 
' Greenway'a MS., 51 B. 

Hosted by 


Note to Chapter XXXI. 441 

Lingard, and that historian, in the edition of his work pubhshed 
in 1849, remarks upon the matter as follows." "The object for 
which this letter was made up in the shape which it thus assumes 
in Gerard's MS., is plain from the reasoning which both he and 
Greenway found upon it. They contend that, if Garnet had 
been privy to the conspiracy, he must have believed on the 4th 
that the explosion had already taken place on the 3rd, the day 
on which the Parliament had been summoned to meet ; though 
no reason is assigned why he might not, as well as others, have 
been aware of the prorogation to the sth of November, and 
they add that, under such belief, he would never have resolved 
to encounter the dangers of making, as he proposed to do, a 
journey to London, though in fact he made no such journey, 
but changed his route, and was actually, at the time in which 
he wrote, on his way to the meeting appointed at Dunchurch. 
Hence it became necessary to suppress the postscript, because 
it was irreconcileable with such statements. There was, more- 
over, this benefit in the suppression, that it kept the reader in 
ignorance (i) of the real date of the letter, the 21st of October, 
the very time when it is admitted that Greenway made to 
Garnet a full disclosure of the Plot; and (z) that Garnet 
took that opportunity of blotting out a most important passage 
in the letter written on the 4th, with a promise to fora'ard the 
same passage later in an epistle apart ; two facts which would 
furnish strong presumptions against the alleged innocence of the 

One word in passing, in reply to the "two facts which would 
furnish strong presumptions against" Father Garnet's innocence. 
1. Dr. Lingard has forgotten that "the full disclosure of the 
Plot" was made in confession, and that Father Garnet could 
make no use of it in any way, until the conjuncture arose when 
the penitent gave him leave. 2. It is true that a passage, 
written to Father Persons on the 4th of October, was erased by 
Father Garnet on the 21st; but what presumption does this 
furnish? The "promise to forward the same passage later in 
an epistle apart," could not mean that he would write him word 
of the Powder Plot when it was safe to do so. Is it likely that 
' Vol. viii. p, 543. 

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442 Life of Father John Gerard. 

a conspirator would have written to liis friend, with all the 
chances of a letter being intercepted, that they were proposing 
to blow up the Houses of Parliament ? What would he have 
gained even had he but risked a phrase as oracular as that of 
the letter to Lord Mounteagle? Such a supposition assumes 
that Father Garnet was not only guilty of the Plot, but that 
he had lost all common sense and ordinary caution ; and that 
he was indebted to the accidental return of his letter to his 
hands, seventeen days after he had written it, for an opportunity 
of destroying proof under his own hand that he was guilty. 

If this consideration is not conclusive, we have but to refer to 
the context, as given from the original by Mr. Tierney himself,' 
and our sense of the ridiculous must settle the question. Father 
Garnet must have been the most erratic of letter- writers, if he 
could insert a reference to the Gunpowder Treason, or to any 
Other treason, between two such subjects as the choice of 
Lay-brothers and his own want of money. The letter ends as 

"'I pray you send word how many Coadjutors [Jesuit Lay- 
brothers] you will have. I have one, a citizen of London, 
of very good experience, which may benefit us, in buying and 
selling without taxes. But he is fifiy years old : and I think 
it not amiss to have, at the first, some ancient men for such. 
Send your will herein.' 

"A short but separate paragraph of three lines is here carefully 

" ' I, am in wonderful distress, for want of the ordinary allow- 
ance from Joseph [Creswell, the Superior in Spain]. I pray 
you write for all the arrearages, which, if it may all be gotten, 
I can spare you some. Thus, with humble remembrance to 
Claud [Aquaviva, the General], Fabio, Perez, Duras, and the 
rest, I cease, 4° Octobris.' " 

But let us address ourselves to the grave accusation made 
against Fathers Gerard and Greenway. That Dr. Lingard should 
have made such a statement at all is owing, first, to the fact that at 

' Tiemey's Bodd, vol. iv. p, cv. The original letter is now [n the archives 
of Ihe See of Westminster, 

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Nole (0 Chapter XXXI. 443 

the time when he was preparing the new edition of his History, 
he had no longer access to the manuscript of Father Gerard, 
of which he had had the use' when originally compiling his 
work. The reader of Father Gerard's Narrative of the Gun- 
powder Plot, which appeared in print in 1871, can speedily 
convince himself of this fact. And, secondly, to a misunder- 
standing of Canon Tierney's note, for which that writer's expres- 
sions are to blame. If it had been true, as Df. Lingard understood 
Mr. Tierney to say, that Gerard and Greenway drew the same 
argument from the date of Father Garnet's letter, their conduct 
would have been entirely indefensible, and they would have 
deserved the blame brought against them. 

The truth however is, and in this lies an ample defence for 
both the Jesuit Fathers, that this is not so. Father Gerard quotes 
Father Garnet's letter only and solely to illustrate the state of 
the Catholics in England. For this purpose, the date of the 
letter he was quoting was entirel)' unimportant. Indeed, he 
originally quoted the letter without any date ; and then he 
interlined the date of Oct. 4th, but laying no more stress upon 
it than he had laid on the dates of the other letters of July 24th 
and August 28th. For the same reason It would not occur to 
him to note that the passage respecting Ireland was taken from 
a postscript. It was enough for him that he gave Father Garnet's 
very words, as he declared " upon his conscience " that he did ; 
and that he had Father Garnet's authority for the account that 
he was giving of the condition and state of feeling of Catholics, 
When he turned to the letter for a dale, it was natural enough 
that he should take that which was endorsed upon it by Father 
Persons, who, having erased the date of the 21st which he had 
originally written upon it, had substituted the 4th, and " in 
another corner of the paper also, where it apjKars most likely 
to catch the eye, inscribed the same date thus, '4° 8'"K"" As 
there is no ground for blaming Father Persons for thus endorsing 
a single date on a letter which continued to bear two, so neither 
is it reasonable to blame Father Gerard for quoting the letter 
under one date only. It is clear, therefore, that there is no 
whatever against Father Gerard, and if Father 
. iii. p. 37, nole. ' Tierney's Dodd, vol. iv. p. cvi. 

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444 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Greenway had not drawn from the date of the letter the argu- 
ment regarding Father Garnet, none would ever have been 
made. It is gravely to be regretted that Mr. Tierney should 
have said that there was " a sufficient motive both to the latter 
and to Gerard for the suppression of that date." This expression 
evidently misled Dr. Lingard, and led him erroneously to speak 
of " the reasoning which both he [Gerard] and Greenway found 
upon it." Had Dr. Lingard not trusted to Mr. Tietney, but 
referred to Gerard's Narrative, he would have said of the 
whole charge that which he has said ' of the alterations of names 
in the first part of the letter. Of this his expression is, " Had 
his object been only to present the public with an account of 
the persecution to which the English Catholics were at that 
moment subjected, there would not have been great cause to 
complain." This was bis only object,= and therefore there was, 
in Dr, Llngard's judgment, no great cause to complain. 

Father Greenway derived his information of the letter from 
Father Gerard's Narrative, of which he was translator. Whether 
the argument he has founded on the date of the letter has any 
and what force is not here under discussion, but it is evident that 
he propounded it in good faith. The original letter was in 
existence to confute him. If he had seen it or noticed the 
postscript and its date, he would never have exposed himself to 
such a confutation. He was misled, innocently enough, but 
seriously, by the manner in which the letter appeared in Father 
Gerard's pages which he was translating. 

In a word, the accusation is this. Gerard and Greenway 
found an argument on the fact that a letter of Garnet's was 
dated the 4th of October, when they knew that it was in his 
hands on the 21st. And the answer is this. Gerard may have 
known, but had no need to notice, the (act of the double date, as 
he founded no argument whatever upon it : Greenway, who did 
found an argument on it, had no reason for suspecting the exist- 
ence of a later date on the letter. 

■ Vol. vii. p. 542. 
' See Condilioa of Cathulk!, "Narraiiveof the Gunpowder Plot," p. 79. 

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And now with regard to the brave Elizabeth Vaux. She 
continued after Father Gerard's departure to lead the 
same fervent Catholic life with the fearless zeal she had 
shown when he was with her. The consequence of course 
was that other troubles and persecutions followed upon 
those related by Father Gerard. In a letter' dated 
November 13, 161 1, John Chamberlain wrote to Sir 
Dudley Carleton that certain Jesuits were taken at the 
house of Lord Vaux's mother She was imprisoned, and 
her son, who at the time she was taken was on the Con- 
tinent with Sir Oliver Manners, on his return to England 
was imprisoned also. He is mentioned in the Avvisi 
d-'Inghilterra of the 21st and 24th of April and the 4th 
of May, 1612, preserved in the Secret Archives of the 
Vatican.2 " The persecution of the Catholics continues as 
usual. Lord Vaux remains in prison, and is in peril of 
the penalty called Pramuriire, which is the loss of his 
estates and perpetual imprisonment, for being constant in 
refusing to take the oath of allegiance, as it is called. The 
mother of the Baron has already incurred this penalty, and 
has lost all she has. She still remains in prison." Later 
notes among the same papers add that "a letter of the 
9th of June from Brussels says that news has come from 
England of the condemnation of Lord Vaux. Anthony 
Tracy, an English gentleman who was the baron's com- 

' P.R.O., D0meslic,/ames I. vol. Ixvii. n. 25. 

" Niincialiira Anglic, mX.ttM.\?:C£\\.; kind!y communicated by the Reverend 
Father Stevenson, S.J. 

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446 Life of Father John Gerard. 

panion in Tuscany, confirms this news in a letter of his 
to Thomas Fitzherbert, written from Florence on the 24th 
of June in these words,— 'By letters of the 31st of May 
I have news from England that on the previous day Lord 
Vaux was condemned to lose every thing and to suffer 
perpetual imprisonment for his constancy in refusing the 
oath of allegiance, as they call it. The very heretics 
lament this cruelty. I have news that for his lordship's 
greater dishonour the cause was tried in the King's Bench 
\ftella Seggia RmU], in which Court hitherto no nobleman 
has appeared, as their causes belong to the Star Chamber." 
A still later notice among the same documents, drawn 
up from English letters of the 28th of June, and the sth 
and 6th of July, 1612, says, "The mother of Lord Vaux, 
having been a long time in prison without the consolation 
of the sacraments, begged the Jesuit Fathers to send her 
some Father who was not known, to hear her confession 
and give her communion. One of the gravest and holiest 
men of that Order came then to London, and accepted 
this charge, and on St. John Baptist's day went to the 
prison. When he arrived there, they let him enter into 
the rooms where the lady was, but when he had entered 
the gaoler laid hands on him with such haste that he 
had scarcely time to consume the Blessed Sacrament that 
he was carrying for her communion. Nothing is known 
by the heretics as to her having sent for the Father, so 
she has not incurred any fresh penalties on this account 
But the Father has been treated with great rigour, and 
is in hopes that he may give his life for our holy faith; 
and it appears that our Lord has been pleased to take 
this occasion to call him to martyrdom in reward of his 
merits and Apostolic labours." 

The name of this Father, together with other details 
which vaiy to some extent from those just given, will be 
found in a letter written by Father Gerard from Louvain 
to Father Aquaviva, the General of the Society, dated the 

Hosted by 


In England. 447 

17th of August, 1612. We translate from the Latin ori- 
ginal.' "Lord Vaux remains in prison, under condem- 
nation but by no means cast down. He seems with in- 
vincible courage to trample on rather than to be deprived 
of the world, and not so much to have !ost as to have 
contemned its good things. His praise certainly is in the 
mouths of all men. And his cause is so honourable to 
him and to the Catholic religion, and so disgraceful to 
his enemies, that the King seemed to be ready to' let his 
lordship go, and to restore him all his goods, when — God 
so disposing it and preserving His servant for great 
things,— some men making a more careful search than 
usual, found out that the mother of the Baron, who was 
herself under condemnation and in prison, but who re- 
tained all her fervour and devotion, had received a priest 
into her cell on the very feast of St. John the Baptist. 
When the officers entered, they found a good Father who 
had just completed the holy Sacrifice, and was in the act 
of distributing the most holy Body of Christ to those who 
were assisting. Mrs. Vaux herself, and two others, had 
communicated. The priest turned back to the altar and 
quietly received the remaining Hosts, lest they should fall 
into sacrilegious hands. The first man who entered the 
room, seeing the altar well appointed and all of them 
kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, was astounded ; 
and forgetting the fierceness with which, under similar 
circumstances, most people rush upon a priest, only uttered 
these words : ' Has not your ladyship suffered enough 
already for this sort of thing ? ' 

" The wonder is of old standing on the part of those 
who do not understand how blessed is the life that God 
will give to those who never change their fidelity to Him, 
and who, fearing God more than the King, even though 
they have but just escaped death, still wish to bury the 
dead. So our good Father Cornforth was taken, a very 
■ Slonyhurst MSS., Angl. A. vol, iil. n. III. 

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448 Life of Fathir John Gerard. 

holy man, whose life well deserves recording. He was 
carried off to the pseudo-Prelate of Canterbury [Arch- 
bishop Abbot], and as he could not conceal his priesthood 
on account of the circumstances in which he was taken, 
so neither would he, for his safety's sake, hide his religious 
state. So he was sent off to that prison [Kewgate] from 
which they usually take their victims when they want an 
offering for the god of heresy. Canterbury then went to 
the King in all haste and fury, and putting fire to the 
cotton to raise a tlame, so inflamed the King's mind 
against the Baron, that he seems to have diverted him 
from his inclination to set him free to the very reverse. 
But notwithstanding all this, as the Baron has those Coun- 
cillors for him who are most powerful with the King, we 
all hope that the King will soon be pacified, and that all 
will end well for our friend, especially if your Paternity 
and yours will help him with your holy prayers." 

However we learn from a letter" to Father Persons, 
written in November 1612, that Father Cornforth soon 
escaped. "Several Catholic priests have lately escaped 
out of Newgate; their names are Cornforth, Young, 
Mayler, Yates alias Bonlton, Green, Parr, and Cooper. 
Much search hath been made for them, but none taken. 
The occasion of their escaping was their hard usage, with- 
out compassion or mercy; whereupon they refused to 
give their words to be true prisoners, but told their keeper 
that as long as they were used so hardly they would give 
no such word but would escape it they could, and within 
a few days after they got away ; and as those seven went 
away, so they might all have gone to the number of 
twenty, but they refiised it, choosing rather to stay. 
Those that remained in prison have since been cast into 
the dungeon, with fetters and gyves." 

In the Public Record Oflice we have various papers 
which add a little to what Father Gerard has here written. 
' Stonyliurst MSS., Angl. A., vol. iii. n. 114 ; Ri.^rdi. vol. ii. p. xiii. 

Hosled by 


Jn England. 449 

Letters' dated February 26 and October 22, 1612, say- 
that Mrs. Vaux, Lord Vaux's mother, was condemned to 
perpetual imprisonment for refusing to take the oath of 
allegiance, and that Lord Vaux was transferred to the 
custody of the Dean of Westminster. The Privy Coun- 
cillor, who was their friend, was Henry Howard, Earl of 
Northampton. There are three letters^ extant from him, 
dated the 3rd, 12th, and 20th of August, 1612, to Viscount 
Rochester in behalf of the Vauxes. In the first he says 
that Lord Vaux's sister [Katherine, wife of Henry Nevill, 
afterwards Lord Abergavenny] has presented a petition 
that her brother and mother may, on account of the hot 
season, be removed from their keeper's house in town to 
that in the country ; but they being imprisoned for life 
on a pr<Bmunire, the matter rests with the King. And 
this in the third letter he says the Archbishop and Council 
consented to, if they can stili be under charge of their 
keeper. The second letter thanks Lord Rochester for his 
intercession in behalf of Lord Vaux and his mother, and 
adds that they expect but little mercy where the Metro- 
politan [Archbishop Abbot] is mediator. We have the 
grants to Lord Vaux of Harrowden of his lands &c at 
Harrowden and elsewhere, in the counties of Essex, Bed- 
ford, Nottingham, Lincoln, and Cambridge, which were 
forfeited to the King on his conviction in a prmmunire 
for refusing the oath of allegiance. Later on. May 4, 1625, 
Charles L granted him a special pardon"* for " not re- 
pairing to the Protestant church and forbearing the same," 
which is recited to be " a contempt of the King's crown 
and dignity." 

One of Lord Vaux's sisters seems to have trodden in 
the footsteps of her namesake and aunt, Father Garnet's 

■ P.R.O., Domestic, James /., vol, Ixviii. n. 67; vol. Ixxi, n. 34; Cham- 
berfain to Carlelon. 

' Ibid. vol. Ixx. nn. 25, 46, 55. 

* Ibid. Sign. Man. vol. iii. n. 6. 

* Rjfmer's Fadera, L xviii. f. 44. 


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45° Life of Father John Gerard. 

friend, Anne Vaux. The Jesuits liept a scliool at lier 
house, Stanley Grange, in Derbyshire. Archbishop Laud 
thus endorsed the information' sent him,— « Received 
October 8, 1635. IVIr. Lumley's information concerning 
Stafford and Derby." It said, " The place where the most 
of the gentlemen's sons do remain is in Derbyshire, four 
miles off from Derby town, at one Mrs. Anne Vaux's 
house, called Stanley Grange, sister to the Lord Vaux, 
where there is the Lord Abergavenny's grandchild, with 
one Mr. Fossiter's son and divers more, which cometh to 
the number of ten or eleven." 

The proclamation for the apprehension of the three 
Jesuit Fathers, accused of complicity in the Gunpowder 
PIot,2 gives a description of Father Gerard, whom, as 
we may remember. Father Garnet had called3 "Long 
John with the little beard" It runs thus,— "John Gerard, 
filial Brooke, of stature tall, and according thereunto well 
set ; his complexion swart or blackish : his face large ; 
his cheeks sticking out, and somewhat hollow underneath 
the cheeks ; the hair of his head long, if it be not cut 
oBf; his beard close, saving little mustachoes, and a little 
tuft under his lower lip ; about forty years old." 

With this description we may compare another"! sent 
by a man named John Byrde to Sir Robert Cecil some 
years before, which is to be found among the documents 
at Hatfield It is dated August 27. 1601. "Gerard's 
discovery may the better be, by observing this description 
of him and his habit. To be of stature tall, high shoul- 
dered, especially when his cope is on his back, black 

■ P.I!.0.,i>.«(,V,Ci*,Z,<d«.n.36i,Pmr*,,or.ll p ,„ 
The warrant issued k consequence of this information is misphiced in the 
Calendar of State Papers, Donmlit, Charhs I., vol ccnciv n 7a 

V.V..Q., Proclamatien Baei, p. .... 
5 ir,/™, p. 145. 

' Hjtfield MSS., yV^. For ihis interesting extract we are indebted to the 
Reverend Augustus Jessopp, D.D. 

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In. England. 451 

haired, and of complexion swarth, hawk nosed, high tem- 
pled, and for the most part attired costly and defencibly 
in buff leather garnished with gold or silver lace, satin 
doublet, and velvet hose of all colours with clocks corres- 
ponding, and rapiers and daggers gilt or silvered."' 

To this we may add the description of Father Gerard 
given by the ruffian Topcliff'e,^ whose spelling is suffi- 
ciently "kewryoos" to be worth retaining. It is dated 
1583 in the Calendar of State Papers, but this is evidently 
erroneous, as Father John Gerard escaped from the Tower 
in 1597. "Jhon Gerrarde y^ Jhezew' preest that escaip 
out of the Tower and Richard Blount a Seam')' preest 
of estymacion, and a thirde preest intend to passe ou'' 
rather after then wi"" the Lo Imbass at Dovi^ Rye or 
thirabowtts upon y' coast They have provided for a 
Culler to passe w"'out suspycion a Scale like a Scale of 
the Counsali table to bleare the Eye^ of Seartchers and 
officers. Therefore it were not amysse That some order 
were left «"> my Lorde Trasorr that he gyve order that 
the Lres do passe under such a Seale from y"" Lis But 
under & w"" summe prevey marke upon the Ires besides 
the seale. Then any passe ndg'' that carryethe a Ire 

■ Father Gerard has told us that Father Everatd was mistaken for him 
because he was " black haired." It is therefore plain that a description given 
by Justice Young in a letter of the 26th of April, 1593, is not intended for 
Father Gerard ! " There is one Standishe, a fair man, fully faced, with whitish 
hair and thin, and goeth in a suit of blue satin and a suit of black velvet, and 
his rapier hilts silvered. He is a priest, and keepeth in Sussex, and is much 
at the Court." On this there is a note in Sir John Pucltering's hand, "Doctor 
Lewes' man reveals that Bishop of Cassano saath this man is a dangerous 
desperate state man." P.R.O., Domestic, Elizabeth, vol, ccjjiv, n. 144. One 
of Father Gerard's names was Standish, but he was not in Susses. There 
were priests of this name. About the date of Justice Young's letter, James 
Young, the spy, reported that " he did know of none [about London] except 
Standish, who resorteth to one Mis. Gardiner's, that Uveth in Fleet-streeL 
The man is of a swaithen complexion, and speaketh very fast, and useth a 
cork shoe of the left foot, which is somewhat shorter than the right." Ibid, 
vol. ccxiv. n. 38. Father Tesimond mentions a Thomas Standish, who 
suffered long imprisonment. Troubles, 1st series, p. r63, 

= P.R.O., Domestic, Eliiaietk, voL cUv. n. ai. 

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452 Life of Father John Gerard. 

w^iowte suche a prevcy ni^k Is fytt to be stayed for a 
time Until hee bee knowen. 

"Jhon Gerrarde y*^ Jliezew' is about 30 years oulde 
Of a good stature sumwhat higlie'' then S'' Tho Layton 
and upright in his payssc and countenance sum what 
stayring in his look or Eyes Currilde heire by Nature & 
biackyshe & and apt not to have much heire of his bearde. 
I thincke his noase sum what wide and turning Upp 
Blubarde Lipps turninge outward Especially the over 
Lipps most Uppwards towards the Noase Kewryoos in 
speetche If he do now contyncwc his customc And in 
his speetche he flourrethe & smyles much and a faltcringe 
or Lispinge, or dooblingc of his Tonge in his speechc 
"Yor honor^ as you will comade me 

"RiC Torci.YFFE, alias •— ^•~'" 

What Sir Thomas Leighton's height may have been 
we do not know, but in the copy of this description sent 
by Cecil to Anne Lady Markham,' a pen has been 
passed through the words "Sir Thomas Leighton," and 
the word "ordinary" is written in its stead. The pro- 
clamation was nearer the truth than Topcliffe as to P'ather 
Gerard's age, for he was then forty-two. 

A correspondence between Cecil and Lady Markham 
betrays to us an offer made by her "to deliver the person 
of Gerard into the hands of the State." Her object was to 
obtain the pardon of her husband, Sir Griffin Markham,^ 
who was in banishment for having taken part in Watson's 
conspiracy. Gilbert, Earl of Shaftesbury, in a letter^ to 
Cecil, says of "a certain lady of Nottinghamshire, called 

■ P.KO., Domeslii, James I., vol. xviii. n. 19. 

' Sir Griffin Markham himself "made several discoveries to .Sit Thomas 
Edmondes, then Ambassador at Bnissels, concerning the pereons concerned in 
the Gunpowder Plot." Birch's Eliiabetk, vol. i. p. 158, quoting llUlcrkal 
View o/lhc negocialioiis hlween the Cowls of England, France, nnd Brussels, 
pp. 252. 255. 

3 P.R.O,, Domestic, Jamis I., vol. xlvii. n. 96. 

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In Englmtd. 


the Lady Markham," "this more I know, that there is 
not the Uke pragmatical-headed lady in this part of 

Her letters' are interesting for the mention of Harry 
Hurlston, that is Mr. Henry Huddlestone,^ Father Gerard's 
convert and fast friend, as also for the account of her 
two servants who had gone to live with Father Gerard ; 
but still more for the testimony she bears to the general, 
belief entertained by Catholics in Father Gerard's sanctity 
and to the improbability in the judgment of all who knew 
him of his being a party to the Plot. 

"Right honourable, — Your lordship may think me slack 
in performing that which I so freely made promise of, but 
the death of my father hath so much appalled me as I 
am not fit to do as I would. I did hear Mr. Gerard was 
taken, which something stayed me. Moreover your lord- 
ship hath Mr. Ha. Hurlston in hold, who may direct you 
the best concerning him of any I know, as also I take it 
Sir Everard Digby can for Mr. Walley [Father Garnet] ; 
but thus it is I cannot learn where Mrs. Vaux is, neither 
if I knew durst I visit her. And this is most strange to 
me : neither of those which were my servants comes to 
me, which makes me think they remove with Mr. Gerard, 
or are imprisoned ; but I rather think they are shifted 
out of the way, because their attendance will make their 
master more acceptable, one of them being an exquisite 
painter and the other a perfect good embroiderer. The 
painter is a black man, and taller than the embroiderer, 
whose hair is yellowish, and was called Christopher Parker 
by his true name. The painter was called Brian Hunston, 
I am bold to inform you thus largely of them, because 
I verily suppose they attend their wandering friend and 
master, but where, till I either see them or hear some 
directions I cannot imagine ; but I protest to your lordship, 
' Ibid. vo!. xvi. n. 18 ; vol xviii. n. 4. ' Supra, p.. 97. 

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* 454 Life of Father John Gerard. 

if I could learn I am resolved he should speak with you, 
if by any means I could procure it, for I fear this most 
vile and hateful Plot hath taken deep and dangerous root, 
because I meet with many that will as easily be persuaded 
there was no gunpowder laid as that [that] holy good 
man was an actor in the Plot ; and surely the generality 
did ever so much admire him that they were happy or 
blessed in hearing him, and their roof sanctified by his 
appearance in their house. I am to go shortly into the 
country. If it would please your lordship to give me 
leave to send a man to my husband I should be much 
bound to you, for I cannot tell till I hear from him how 
to determine of those businesses occasioned by my father's 
death. I humbly beseech you commiserate my affliction 
and grant me this poor request, if it stand with your 
liking, and I shall ever pray for your increase of honour 
and happiness. So I humbly take my leave this i8th of 
November, 1605. 

"Your lordship's most humble to command, 

"Anne Markham." 
Endorsed, " The Lady Markham to my lord." 

" Right honourable, — Afore I came out of London I 
sent to know your lordship's pleasure, but mine uncle 
could not meet with Mr. Levinus, and indeed I did think 
my credit was so decayed with the Padre that I could 
not do as I would, employ my best endeavours to perform 
thereby to express my great desire of your lordship's good 
opinion. Now I find either necessity of their part or my 
two servants' credits hath given me so much power as I 
shall shortly see Mr. Gerard, but for the day or certain 
time they are too crafty to appoint, but whensoever I will 
do my best to keep him within my kenning till I hear 
from your lordship, and then, my credit preserved, which is 
dearer to me than life, your command shall be as truly 

Hosted by 


In England. 455 

obeyed as if your most trusty servant were commanded. I 
do perceive there are great business in hand, and your 
lordship is, next to his Majesty, most shot at, but what the 
project is I dare not be very inquisitive of, because it is not 
ripe, as by circumstance I perceive ; and I labour to make 
myself in good estimation with them, which would not be 
if I covet to know more than they like. This, I protest to 
God, is only to do service to your lordship. There had 
been some of them with me ere this, but great occasion 
hath drawn them to haste into other places, whither I 
know not. If the watch had continued but two days 
longer, Mr. Gerard had been pined out at Harrowden. I 
hear Ric. the butler' is close in the Gatehouse, yet your 
lordship knows that prisons are places of such corruption 
as money will help letters to their friends to tell what they 
have been examined of, so they will guess shrewdly how to 

■ "Ric. the buller" is one of two of Mrs. Vaux's servants, whose exami- 
nations have been preserved at Montacute House, among the papers of Sir 
Edward Phelips, of which a copy has been deposited in the Public Record 
Office by the Historical MSS. Commission. 

"The examination of Francis Swetnam, servant to Mrs. Elizabeth Vaui, 
and served her in the bakehouse, taken the third of December, 1605. Saith 
that he hath been a recusant these two years, but will now come to the 
Church, for that he had rather adventure his own soul than loosen his five 
children, but cannot give any reason why he should adventure his soul by 
coining to Church. Saith that he was taken ui his mistress' house and brought 
Qp with her to London, but denieth that he was ever at any mass, or that he 
knoweth any priest, and cannot deliver any other material thing to be set 
down. Tile mark of Francis O Swetnam, Jul. Cresar, Kogr. Wilbraham, 
E. Phelipps, Jo. Croke, George More, Walter Cope, Fr. Bacon, John Dod- 
dridge" (f. 25). 

" The examination of Richard Richardson, bu 1 Mrs Vaux. He 

saith he hath served his mistress about six years, and h h n m to Church 
since he was eleven years old. Saith that since M d mm a C tesby was 
at Harwardds [Harrowden] only one time, which as b S Luke's day ; 
and that Sir Everard Digby was there only tw ce h rm b ut the 5tlv 
of August and the latter about St. Luke's day and h Fran Tresham 
was not there this twelvemonth; Mr, Rookwood thes h ea and that 
Winter, Grant, Percy, Morgan, were never there during his service. And 
for matter of faitb or revealing of priests or masses, he desireth to be spared, 
because it concerneth his soul. Richard Richardson, JuL Ciesar, Rogr. 
Wilbraham, Jo, Croke, John Doddridge, Walter Cope, Geoi^e More, Fr. 
Bacon," Endorsed — "6° December 1605" (f. 3a). 

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456 Life of Father John Gerard. 

shift. I have none that I do trust about me with my 
resolution to do my best endeavour to preserve your 
lordship, therefore I am enforced to be brief. I beseech 
you pardon it in me that writes in fear, but if it please 
your honour to send your note or directions to mine Uncle 
Harvey, I will expect till that he send them, and ever pray 
God to protect you from these most dangerous conspirators. 
For the true trial of my devotion in that prayer I will most 
sincerely labour your preservation, so I humbly take my 
leave this 3rd of January. 

" Your lordship's at command. 

"Anne Markham." 
" To the Right Honourable my very good lord the 
Earl of Salisbury, haste this." Endorsed, "3rd January, 
i6o5[6]. Lady Markham to my lord." 

The following is Cecil's answer.' 

" Madam,— Although I do confess my great misHke of 
the daily resort and residence of the priests and especially 
of the Jesuits, whose end can be no other than of per- 
nicious consequence to this estate, yet. being in hope that 
warnings would make them retire from further tempting of 
law, I have used no extraordinary concern for their appre- 
hension, being, I confess, full of tenderness in matters of 
blood. But having now discovered by many confessions 
of the late conspirators that some of these Jesuits have 
passed so far as to be persuaders and actors in this 
barbarous conspiracy, which exdudeth almost all offices of 
humanity from men that have softer hearts, I have thought 
good to take your offer for his Majesty's service, to dehver 
the person of Gerard (who is one of those) into the hands 
of the State. For which purpose, although your letter 
doth not well express what you would have done, whereby 
■ P.R.O., De,ncstic,James I., vol. xviii, n. 19. 

Hosted by 


In England. 457 

both the service may be effected and your name covered ; 
yet I have procured a warrant, here inclosed, which will be 
sufficient to authorize and command any man to whom 
you shall direct it, which I have left to your own choice to 
put in, because I know not who they are which dwell 
thereabouts in whom you dare repose trust. And unless 
you have the warrant presently and in the instant to 
execute, I know the inconvenience of the protraction. You 
shall therefore do very well to observe how the warrant is 
made, and thereby shall you perceive that the party to 
whomsoever it is directed is authorized sufficiently, and 
will receive the warrant from any body's hands whom you 
shall send; so as if you will choose any of your own 
to carry it to any such gentleman as you shall like, that 
third party need not say he comes from you, but from 
some other, and yet he may bring the gentleman that 
you shall name upon the back of the warrant to execute 
all things according to your direction. Lastly, madam, I 
say this unto you, that either your religion is very foul, or 
you will make no difficulty to discover such a pernicious 
creature, as differs so far from the rest of the Society (as I 
am persuaded) ; wherein I will add thus much further, that 
you shall be an instrument of reflecting his Majesty's good 
opinion to your husband, and confirm the conceit I have of 
you, that you would not trouble yourself and me in this 
kind unless you meant sincerely. And so I commit you to 
God. From the Court at Whitehall, this isth of January, 
1 60s [6]. 

" Your ladyship's loving friend, 


"There are only three of your Churchmen in this 
wicked predicament, Gerard, Father Walley, and Father 
Greenway, so it is indifferent to the State which of these 
be come by. This letter is sent according to your direction 
to Mr. Stringer, who shall receive it from the next post to 

Hosted by 


458 Life of Father John Gerard. 

him, and the packet to the post is signed by the post- 
master's hand, and not by mine, who knoweth not the 
contents nor anything of you, and yet his hand will make 
the less suspicion. I desire you to keep safe both this 
mine own letter and the warrant, because I may have both 
delivered again hereafter, if there be no cause continuing 
to use them hereafter, and I will do the like with your 
letter, which I reserve for you." 

Endorsed, — " To the Lady Markham." 

To Cecil's precaution in requiring Lady Markham to 
return his letter to him we owe our knowledge of it ; and 
to his neglecting to " do the like " with her letters we are 
indebted for them. Lady Markham has spread in vain 
before Cecil's eyes the bait of a project aimed specially 
at himself, next to the King. He has measured his corres- 
pondent accurately, but he has thought it possible that 
through her he might secure Father Gerard or one of the 
other fathers. He can however hardly have been ignorant 
that Lady Markham was quoted by Watson in the 
Dechachordon'^ as the authority for a malicious libel on 
Father Gerard, which would make him very wary of her 
for ever after. "They will make all the secular priests 
leap at a crust ere long ; for so said that good holy father 
John Gerard of late to the Lady Markham in Notting- 
hamshire, who told it shortly after to Master Atkinson." 

Lady Markham was wrong in saying that " if the watch 
had continued two days longer, Mr. Gerard had been pined 
out at Harrowden." He has himself told us^ that the 
search lasted nine days, but that he was in no danger of 
suffering from hunger. The search must have been imme- 
diately after the discovery of the Plot, for it is mentioned 

■ P. 83. There is a similar libel at p. 14, of "another surmized holy 
father of their society, in whose mouth a man would think butter could not 
melt," and in the margin there is the name "John Gerard." 

" Supra, p. 386, 

Hosted by 


In England. 459 

in a letter' dated the loth of November, 1605. "Mr. 
Baptista came to Lady Vaux's to find Jarrett [Gerard, not 
Garnet, as in Mr. Green's Calendar] Superior of the English 
Jesuits." Some news of Father Gerard's hiding reached 
Father Garnet in prison, for in a letter^ addressed by Fr. 
Oldcorne to the Council, dated March 25, 1606, in which 
he relates what had passed in the Tower between Father 
Garnet and himself, but in a way that could not be hurtful 
to any one, the following passage occurs. "Also Mr. 
Garnet told me that while he was in the Gatehouse he 
received a note written in orange (but he told me not 
from whom) whereby he understood that Father Tesimond 
was gone over sea, and that Father Gerard would presently 
follow him after he had recovered a little more strength : 
'whereby,' said Garnet, 'I gather he hath been lately in 
some secret place, as we were ; but by this I hope he hath 
recovered his strength, and is also passed over the sea.' " 

From the book of an enemy we gather the name of 
one who gave shelter to Father Gerard when he was 
obliged to leave Mrs. Vaux's house. Wadsworth, who was 
for many years an active pursuivant employed against 
Catholics, wrote a vile book called "The English Spanish 
Pilgrim," which was published in 1629. In it^ he says 
that Father Gerard was sheltered by "Doctor Taylor, 
Doctor of the Law," and, if we so rightly understand a 
badly worded sentence, "interpreter to the Spanish Am- 
bassador." Wadsworth says, "Mr. Henry Taylor , . . 
took St. Omers in his way to visit his mother there living, 
where then Father Blount being resident, the Provincial 
of the English Jesuits, and she remembering him of the 
services that her late husband. Dr. Taylor,'^ Doctor of the 

■ P.R.O., Domiitit, Jamis I., vol. ivi. n. 44. George Soulhaick to 
Levinus Munck. 

' Ibid. Gunpowder Plot Book, n. 214. 

^ P. 25, 

* Probably this is the Dr. Taylor who is mentioned in Hugh Griffin's 
deposition, supra, p. 400. 

Hosted by 


460 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Law, had done for their Society, in protecting in his 
chamber that Jesuit Father Gerat, a complotter of the 
Gunpowder Treason, and then interpreter to the Spanish 
Ambassador in England, in consideration whereof the 
Provincial Blount gave him a letter of favour to Gondomar, 
the then Ambassador in England . . . which Count 
Gondomar . , . having read , . . made choice of him for 
his Secretary, and now since the death of his master, he is 
retainer to his Catholic Majesty." 

J by Google 




1606 TO 1609. 

Father Gerard has told us that he crossed the Channel 
on the 3rd of May, 1606, the very day on which Father 
Garnet was martyred in St. Paul's Churchyard. The 
"certain high personages" in whose suite he says he 
passed over, were the Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders." 
Who they were, and what was said on Father Gerard's 
arrival in Belgium we learn from a letter^ from Father 
Baldwin then at Brussels to Father Persons at Rome, dated 
May 20, 1606. The deciphering is in a contemporary 
hand. " Since my last, five days ago, arrived at — S {St. 
Omers) 469 (Father Gerard), where also is one [Richard 
Fulwood] whom 456 (H, Garnet) was wont to use in all his 
chief business of passage, receiving and retaining all thing's, 
I take it he be 229 (Jesuit) also. They are yet 267 (secret), 
and so it is requisite for a time, especially in that the 
194 225 (Marquis Ambassador) brought them, and by his 
dexterous and courteous manner had great care of them. 
The Marquis of St. Germain came hither two days ago, 
and both he and Don Blasco de Arragon came as well 
informed of our English matters as I could wish. They 
have made relation accordingly to the Nuncio, and this 
morning to me, who have been with them for a long while, 
They praise the courage and constancy of Catholics mar- 
vellously, and have an apprehension of the daily increase 
' Bitrtoli, Iiishil/en-a, p. 586. = Stonyhuisl MSB., An^l. A. vol. vi. 

Hosted by 


462 Life of Father John Gerard. 

of them ; also that the better sort in England are inclined 
Catholicly and such in profession. They speak much of 
the zeal of the Lady of Shrewsbury and of the indignation 
of the King, who hearing of the manner of Father Old- 
corne's death and requesting all Catholics to pray for him 
and say De profundis, there were found so many to say 
that aloud as they were esteemed a great part of the num- 
ber, and so many by signs and voices to have given show 
of Catholic profession as all were amazed. Thus they 
report ; and also that Father Garnet was to be executed 
the day which they came away, in Paul's Churchyard, 
although another writing from St. Omers says that it was 
deferred the day following, for that the day first appointed 
was May Day, and Father Garnet, being advertised of his 
death, should answer, 'What then, will you make a May- 
game of me .' ' Howsoever, it is held for certain that he is 
dead, and that Marquis told the Nuncio that therefore he 
departed the sooner, as unwilling to be present at such 
a tragedy. ... I think Father Gerard may live in these 
countries after that Mr. Owen is delivered (of whom the 
Archduke mindeth to have great care), yet he who is said 
to have had correspondence with him, one Philips 
[Phelippes]! the decipherer, is now committed to the 
Tower. And it were very necessary one of ours remain 
in Paris, for which place Father Keynes may serve for a 
time, at least in that he is a man not noted, and hath 
the French tongue, as having lived there. Father Schon- 

' This PheHppcs is tlie man by whom Mary Queen of Scots was done to 
death. He could not have expected much favour on the accession of her son 
to the Crown of England, yet he had the elfronteiy in a petition lo the 
King in 1622, after saying " thai he had been forced, since his Majesty's 
coming to this Crown, lo part with a pension had for deciphering, towards 
satisfaction of a debt owing to the last Queen, which she was in mind to have 
pardoned," to put in a claim lo James' favour "for his feat of deciphering, by 
the which England was sometime preserved to him and sometime his Majesty 
to England when, he knew not of it." Cstlon MSS., Julius, C. lit f. 297. 
Phelippes' arrest in consequence of his correspondence with Hugh Owen is 
given in Poulet's Letter-books, p. 116, 

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Across the Channel. 463 

donch [Rector of St. Omers] is of my opinion, and Father 
Gerard will do well in his place [at St Omers] after some 
month or two, if things alter not much ; for he can hardly 
be in any other place in regard of his indisposition, if it be 
as I have heard. I shall soon know more thereof. Father 
Lee were good in England in my opinion, for the consola- 
tion of many of ours, and Father Gerard's friends, all 
which I remit to your consideration." 

Father Gerard must have remained six weeks at St. 
Omers, recovering from the illness caused by all he had 
passed through. On the 3rd of July, 1606, Father Baldwin 
wrote" again from Brussels to Father Persons. "I have 
not as yet received from England from any of our Fathers ; 
only John Powell, the interpreter of the Spanish .Ambas- 
sador, relateth what passed at the execution of Father 
Garnet, upon the 13th May stylo novo and the 3rd stylo 
vetere. He hath given exceeding satisfaction to all sorts, 
and much confounded our enemies of the one sort and 
other. He was drawn according to the usual manner to 
Paul's Churchyard upon a hurdle and straw; his arms were 
not bound, neither when he was executed. Such concourse 
of people as hath not been seen. . . . The Spanish Am- 
bassador would not remain in London that day ; he hath 
got his shirt, and some of his blood is sent to Spain, which 
I have seen here, also his apparel is gotten, as I hear. 
Here now is Richard Fulwood, who tclleth me that Father 
Gerard is very sick at St. Omers ; that said you would 
have him come to Rome. I fear me that journey will 
kill him." 

Father Gerard rallied quickly from his sickness at St. 
Omers, for in less than a fortnight after this he wrote from 
Brussels to Father Persons, under the pseudonym of Francis 
Harrison. The letter is so characteristic of the man that, 
though long, we give it in full from the original at 

■ Stonyhursl MSS., Angl. A. vol. vi. ' Ibid. 

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464 Life of Father John Gerard. 

"July 15, i6o6. 
"Jesus . Maria. 
" Pax C'= 
" My dear and respected Father. --I have received your 
letters of the — last, wherein you show your fatherly care 
and undeserved love unto me, as were sufficient to bind 
unto you any grateful heart, although he were not tied 
with former obligations. But I am so much and so many 
ways bound unto you before by favours of the highest 
kind, that these do only tie me unto you with new knots, 
though I was before so wholly yours and so firmly tied, 
that sincerely I had rather not to be than to be untied. 
I beseech you, sir, that you will be pleased to present my 
humble duty unto Father General, in whose favour through 
your good word do procure me that place which I can no 
ways deserve, yet this I hope you may promise for me, 
that I will now begin to do my best endeavours, that I may 
be framed in all things as is fit for a child of that most holy 
family whereof he hath the care, that both by my voice 
and hands he may acknowledge me for his child, the better 
to deserve the blessing of so great and good a Father. I 
would now acknowledge my duty by letters, but that I am 
ashamed of my Latin, and loth to trouble with so rude 
lines, unless there were further occasion or that you 
thought it needful. But I hope to come and do my duty 
in person so soon that it will not be necessary to signify it 
by letters. I will stay as you appoint until I have your 
letters for coming forward, and in the meantime will not 
be solicitous one whit, having no desire in the world 
whereof I would not most willingly leave the whole care 
unto you, and indeed desiring to have no other desires but 
yours so far as I may be able to discern them, after that I 
have expressed my reasons as I know you would have me 
to do, and after that you know me better and my many 
great wants, which, that they may be more exactly known 

Hosted by 


Across the Channel. 465 

unto you, makes me so desirous to be with you for some 
time, howsoever it may please you to dispose of me 

"And if the chief cause why you think it best for me 
to stay a while in these parts be for that you would have 
me secret as yet, and especially not to be seen with you 
there [in Rome] whilst the appellants are negociating their 
uncharitable accusations of their brethren, then I suppose 
you will think I may be fully as secret there as here, if I 
be first wary in my coming into the town, and then be 
your prisoner for some time (which I most desire); and 
then go to St. Andrew's [the Noviciate of the Society on 
the Quirinal], without visiting any holy places and being 
seen in the town until you think it convenient. And 
because, in my second and third letters, I expressed my 
earnest desire of this private course at my first coming, 
I suppose I shall hear from you in your next letter or 
the next but one, that you think best I come forward, 
unless you wish my stay for some other reasons than the 
desire of my being secret. 

" I grant I might perform my desire of some time of 
recollection either in Louvain or in the new house [the 
proposed English Noviciate] if it go forwards, under Father 
Talbot [the Master of Novices] ; but I have many reasons 
why I desire to be with you for some time, which I think 
you would allow of if you know them. And I would be 
glad also if it might be to begin in St, Andrew's, to draw- 
there some lively water out of the chiefest fountain, and 
this rather in the winter than to come the next spring, 
because I much fear my health if I be there in the heats. 
But after I have been there for some time, for so long a time 
as you shall think it convenient that I stay in that school, I 
shall be Father Talbot's Minister here, or to have some office 
of action under him, if my health do require any exercise 
of body. I hear there is one prepared for Minister that 
is very fit, but I could have care of the Church, and then 

Hosted by 


466 Life of Father John Gerard. 

perhaps shall get some stuff to furnish it from some friends 
of mine in England ; or I could have care of the garden, 
for I am excellent at that (if you will permit me to praise 
myself) for that was much of my recreation in England, 
and I hope my brother [probably Sir Oliver Manners] 
will witness with me that he hath seen a good many 
plants of my setting, and tasted the fruit of some of them. 
But indeed, dear Father, if it may stand with your liking, 
I would be very glad to see you and be with you for 
some days before I settle anywhere, how private soever 
my abode there be, either at the first or for the whole 
time of my stay, as yourself shall see it best. 

"As for the settling of any with my friends, I have 
done it before my departure, leaving my old companion 
and dear friend Father Percy in the place where I was, 
who is so much esteemed and desired by them, as none 
can be likely to be more profitable. Most of my other 
special friends I commended partly to Father Anthony 
[Hoskins] and partly to him, both which are most grateful 
[pleasing] to all my friends and acquaintance, and indeed 
I know not any two there that, in my simple opinion, 
better deserve it. As concerning Father Roger Lee's 
going into England, if you please that I write justly that 
I think, there be divers reasons for which I think it, at this 
time, very inconvenient First, in that he is so profitable 
where he is [Minister at St Omers], that it will not be easy 
to find another [who] will do so much good in that place ; 
and, in one word to express my opinion, for aught I see, 
the most good of the house, both for external discipline 
and for progress in spirit, dependeth upon his care and 
effectual industry, wherein I should think it more needful 
to provide him more helpers of like desires and practical 
endeavours, who would conspire with him and have talents 
to effect, both with the good Rector [Father Schondonch] 
and with the scholars, that which they should together find 
to be most expedient The Fathers which be there do 

Hosted by 


Across the Channel. 467 

very well, but are not of like apprehensions and proceed- 
ings, and I suppose if yourself did see all particulars, you 
■would think Father Roger to be a strong helper to the 
good of that house, and that it would flourish much if it 
had some others of his like. I know not where to name 
one upon the sudden, unless it be Father Henry Flud 
[Floyd], whose zeal and practical proceedings I think 
would be very profitable for that house, if he may be 
spared; and truly in my opinion, upon the good of that 
house dependeth much the good and quiet of the other 
Colleges, besides much edification to many, both friends 
and enemies, unto whom this is a continual spectacle. 

"But besides this reason (which alone I take to be 
sufficient) I wish Father Roger's stay for the good he may 
hereafter do in England, which I do hope will be great, 
and therefore great pity it should now be lost before the 
fruit of so likely a tree can come to ripeness. For, sir, 
yourself can better judge that none can be much profitable 
in England until he have gotten acquaintance there, and 
until his acquaintance by their trial of him have gotten 
a great opinion and estimation of him, which then they 
will spread from one to another, and every one will bring 
his friend, who upon hearing will be desirous to try, but 
after trial will say unto the friend that brought him, Jam 
non propter sermonem tuum credimus sed ipsi, &c. By this 
means one shall have, after some continuance, more 
acquaintances and devoted friends than he can satisfy, 
and more business in that kind than he can turn his hands 
unto ; but this is supposing he may at the first go up and 
down to get this acquaintance, and to be so known unto 
many ; and until he have means so to do, if he have never 
so good talents, yet he shall not do so much good as a 
meaner person that is better acquainted Now in this 
time I do verily think, if the laws be put in execution, 
there will be no means at all to get acquaintance, but the 
best acquainted shall have difficulty to help his known 

Hosted by 


468 Life of Father John Gerard. 

friends, and to be helped by them with safe places of 
abode as [I have declared at] large in my last letters, and 
they must lie much still and private and do [good part of] 
their [work by means of lejtters. Therefore, although I 
know Father Roger would be much esteemed of my special 
friends as any that could be sent (unless my brother' had 
served his apprenticeship and were made a journeyman, 
for of his skill and workmanship in framing the best 
wedding garment there is great and general hope con- 
ceived) yet, things staying as they do in England, and 
Father Roger so well acquainted now with the place as 
himself (which truly I think would be hard to find) my 
friends also being already furnished in England : these 
reasons move me to think it neither needful nor best that 
Father Roger go thither as yet ; which yet in a more 
quiet time I shall be bold to beg for, if I see the College 
where he is so furnished that without great loss it might 
want him. I find Father Roger desirous of England if 
it were thought best, but wholly desirous to do that which 
you yourself do think most convenient; but when I urge 
him to speak his very thoughts whether he do think the 
College would be at want, he cannot deny but that the 
College hath need rather of more than less help, and surely 
I think if it were another's case of whom he might with 
humility acknowledge how profitable he is, I do think he 
would absolutely do his best to hinder it, as I do. 

" For the answer to your questions, though in my last 
long letters I did in part answer to most of them before 
I received yours, yet now I will briefly again set down 
my opinion to the several points. Father Baldwin having 
written of them in his last, I being at St. Omers ; but now 
I am come to him, being advised by the physician there 
to go to the Spa for the drying up of my rheum, which 
here I shall take further counsel of, how far it is needful, 
ril 1611, as we have said {supra. 

Hosted by 


Across the Channel. 469 

and whether the great rains have not made the waters 
of less force. I am here private, and more private than 
I could be at St. Omers whilst the banished priests ' are 
passing by. I think I shall hear within two or three posts 
your further pleasure; if not, I will return [to St. Omers] 
and then begin to talk with the youths there, or do any 
service I can as you appointed in your last. In the mean- 
time, with many humble thanks for your many undeserved 
favours, I rest this 15th of July [1606]. 

"Your Reverence's son and servant wholly to command, 
"Fr. Harrison." 

Addressed — Al molto Rev. in Christo Padre, U Padre 
Roberto Parsonio, Rettore del CoUegio delli Inglesi, Roma. 

It was probably very soon indeed after this that Father 
Gerard received directions from Father Persons to go to 
Rome, for the order must have come so soon that in his 
autobiography he puts it that "he went straight to Rome." 
We learn from Father More^ that he was sent thence to 
Tivoli for a while, for rest of mind and body. Father 
Persons was staying there for his health, as we learn from 
a letter^ of his dated the 8th of October, 1606 ; and, as 
a further pleasure for Father Gerard, Brother John Lilly, 
who had twice risked everything to set him free, was at 
Tivoli with Father Persons. 

We have a letter, ■• dated "this Simon and Jude's day, 
1606," from Father Andrew Whyte, afterwards the Apostle 
of Maryland, addressed "To his especial good friend 
Mr. Garret give these at Rome." This Father Whyte 
was one of the banished priests, and he would therefore 

■ Bishop Challonet gives a list of 47 priests from different prisons who 
were sent this year, 1606, into perpetual banishment. MUsUmary Priests, 

' Hisl. Picv. lib. vii. n. 43, p. 339. 

3 Stonyhutsl MSS., Father Greiie's CoUeHan. P. f. 437. 

* Ibid. Angl. A. vol. iii. n. 7a 

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47° Life of Father John Gerard. 

know for certain that at the time he wrote his letter at the 
end of October Father Gerard had gone towards Rome. 
He wrote to ask him to speak to Father Persons to get 
Richard Green received into the Society, who had been 
sent to College by Father Gerard, and had been imprisoned 
"about the time of this late commotion." Green "was 
received very kindly by Father Walley [Garnet] and 
provided for very charitably in a manner as one of the 
Society, with a promise that the year following he should 
be received without fail ; " but now, as " few or none of 
Father Walley's writings or determinations were found, 
and Richard Fulwood gone which should have given 
particular testimony," Father Whyte begs that "he may 
either be sent to the Novitiates of other countries with 
the licence of the General, or else may have a promise to 
be the next that is received at Louvain." 

On the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury in the same 
year, December 29, 1606, Father Gerard had not yet 
returned from Tivoli to Rome, for on that day Father 
Persons wrote' from Rome to "Customer," that is the 
archpriest, in the words already quoted respecting his 
innocence of the Gunpowder Plot. " The man you name, 
to wit Ger., passed this way some months gone, but made 
little or no abode lest offence might be taken thereat. 
Only I can say that during the few days which he re- 
mained, he gave great edification for his behaviour and 
sundry great testimonies of his rare virtue, but most of 
all of his innocency concerning that crime whereof he was 
imputed in the proclamation, about which himself pro- 
cured that his General should officially examine, in pre- 
sence of divers witnesses, commanding him in virtuie 
sanctm obedimtim to utter the truth therein to his Superior, 
whereupon he swore and protested that he was wholly 
innocent therein, which the rest of his behaviour doth 
easily make probable. I shall cause him to be advertised 
' Stonjhurst MSS., Father Glene's Coliedan. P. f. 449, 477, 

Hosted by 


Across the 'Channel. 471 

by the first commodity of the note you write about his 

Early probably in 1607 Father Gerard left Tivoli for 
Rome, where he was appointed English Penitentiary' 
at St Peter's. The confessionals of that Basilica, like 
those of the Holy House at Loretto, were served by a 
College of Jesuit Fathers, and both Churches required 
confessors of every nationality. There was thus an 
English Father employed at each of these sanctuaries ; 
but unfortunately our records are very fragmentary, and 
of the Penitentiaries we have little information beyond 
that which has been left us by Father Christopher Grene, 
who at the distance of nearly a century succeeded Father 
Gerard as English Penitentiary at St. Peter's. How long 
Father Gerard was there we are left to gather from other 
sources, and there is little to rely upon except the date 
that we attribute to his autobiography and the signs of 
its having been written in Belgium. Of the latter there 
cannot be any doubt when we notice that towards its 
conclusion the writer says, " I went straight to Rome, and 
being sent back thence to these parts, was fixed at 
Louvain." At Louvain therefore it was written, and the 
time, as we have seen, was later than John Lilly's depar- 
ture to England in June 1609, and of course later than 
his own solemn Profession of the four vows, which was 
on the 3rd of May 1609. 

His Profession, nearly twenty-one years after his ad- 
mission into the Society, may have been at Rome just 
before leaving or at Louvain just after arriving. We are 
in possession of the confidential report which was made 
to Father General respecting him, previous to his Pro- 
fession. By a singular chance the paper in which it is 
contained is the only one of similar reports that has come 
to our hands. The Latin original, from which we trans- 

■ Stonyhurst MSS., Father Southwell's Catalogta prsmoyum patrum, p. 32, 
Archives of the English Collrge at Rome, Scritture, vol. xxji. ; 1632. 

Hosted by 


472 Life of Father John Gerard, 

late, is amongst the Stonyhurst manuscripts.' Father 
Gerard's name is the ninth on the paper. "Father John 
Gerard, EngHsh, forty-five years old, nineteen in the 
Society [that is, reckoning from the time when he took 
his scholastic vows, at the end of his two years' novice- 
ship], twenty-one on the English mission. He studied at 
Rome in the English College controversy and cases of 
conscience for four years [including, it is to be supposed, 
his period of study at Rheims]. He was admitted [to his 
scholastic vows] in England, where he made his novice- 
ship. He is a very spiritual man ; he is endowed with an 
admirable power of gaining souls ; he has also more than 
a middling talent for preaching ; and he is held to be not 
unfit for government. If these talents can supply the 
defect of learning, taking also into account all that he 
has suffered for the Catholic faith, then he is proposed 
for the four vows. It would be a consolation both to 
himself and to the many Catholics of note by whom he 
is held in high esteem. But if not, then he is proposed 
for profession of the three vows." 

Both Father Bartoli and Father More remark that 
Father Gerard was admitted to the solemn vows of a 
Professed Father by a special favour, as his learning, 
owing to the short course of study through which he had 
passed, fell short of that which the Society requires as 
a condition of Profession. Father Bartoli says^ that this 
"most rare but most just privilege" was conferred on 
him, "as virtue, in which he exceeded the standard, sup- 
plied for the studies in which he fell short of it." 

His first employment as a Professed Father of the 
Society was to be Socius or Companion of Father Thomas 
Talbot, who was Rector and IVIaster of Novices in the 
English Novitiate house at Louvain. It was of this house 
that he spoke in his letter to Father Persons on his arrival 
in Belgium in July 1606, expressing his "desire of some 

■ Angl. A. vol. vi. ' Iiigkilkrra, p, 586. 

Hosted by 


Across the Channel. 473 

time of recollection." which he said he granted he could 
do "in the new house, if it go forwards, under Father 
Talbot," though he acknowledged his preference for the 
old novitiate at St Andrew's on the Quirinal, which he 
calls "the chiefest fountain." In the same letter he says 
that he should " be glad to be Father Talbot's minister 
here," after he had spent some time at St. Andrew's ; and 
it is probable that he was appointed to the very office 
he thus named when he was made Socius to the Master 
of Novices at Louvain, after two years of residence at 
Rome in the College of the Penitentiaries of St. Peter's. 

Hosted by 




St. John's at Louvain, the first Novitiate of the English 
Province, was the foundation of Dofia Luisa de Carvajal, 
the devout Spanish lady, whose life was devoted, in 
virtue of a remarkable vocation, to the encouragement of 
the suffering Catholics in England. By her will, dated 
the 22nd of December 1604, she left 12,000 ducats for 
the establishment of an English Jesuit Novitiate, and 
though she did not die till ten years later, — that is, on 
the 2nd of January 1614, — and though the money she 
gave was all she had in the world,' she would have the 
good work begin at once without waiting for her death. 
The will, 2 of which she was thus herself the executrix, 
is an admirable specimen of true Spanish devotion and 
humility. After commending her soul to God by the 
intercession of our Blessed Lady, she proceeds — " For the 
love of God I humbly pray the Superiors of the Society 
of Jesus and the Prjepositus of the Professed House [at 
Valladolid], as a favour, to grant me some little place 
in their church where my body may be buried, in con- 
sideration of the devotion I have ever entertained for 
their holy Religious Order ; to which Order, in the manner 
that I have thought would be most to the glory of God, 
I offer with the greatest affection a gift which, though 

■ TheLifsof Luka de Carvaja!, by Lady Georgiana FuUerton, London, 
1873. p. 137. 

' Falher More, Hist. Prov. lib. vii. cap, 3, p. 291. 

Hosted by 


Louvaiti and LiSge. ' 475 

but small, is all that I have. And if a burial place be 
refused me in that church, my executors will obtain for 
me a resting place in some other church of the Society ;i 
and if they are unable to obtain this, let me be buried 
in some monastery in which, for the love of God, they 
may be willing to give burial to a poor person like myself, 
and let my funeral be conducted in accordance with this 
ray poverty. As executors I name Father Richard Wal- 
pole, the Vice-Prefect of the English Mission, and the 
Confessor of the English College in this city, or their 
successors. After them {and I have named them first 
from respect to their priestly dignity) I name the Countess 
de la Miranda, Doila Maria de Zuniga, Dona Maria Gasca, 
Don Francis de Contreras, Senor Melchior de Molina, 
and Don Luis de Carrillo y Toledo, Count of Caracena. 
First of all I declare that many years ago when I was 
with my uncle, I made a vow to God to dedicate all my 
property to the glory and greatest service of God. Then 
His Divine Majesty gave me large desires and a vehement 
attraction to devote myself above all things to the preser- 
vation and advancement of the English Fathers of the 
Society of Jesus, who sustain that kingdom like strong 
columns, defend it from an otherwise inevitable ruin, and 
supply efficacious means of salvation for thousands and 
thousands of souls. Wherefore I offer all my goods to 
the most holy Virgin our Lady. I place them under her 
protection, and I name and leave her universal heir of all 
my property. And I give possession of it henceforward 
to that most glorious Virgin, and in her name and place 
to Father Robert Persons, or failing him, to the Father 
who shall succeed him as Superior of the Mission, but 
with this condition and obligation, that such goods shall 

' When this sainlly noble lady died, " tlie Fathers of the Society of Jesus 
at Louvain declared that her remains belonged by right to the Novitiate she 
had founded, and wrote very soon and very pressingly to the Spanish Ambas- 
sador on the subject," but by the King's command she was buried in Ihe 
Convent of the Incarnation at Madrid, Life, p. 285. 

Hosted by 


476 Life of Father John Gerard. 

be applied to the founding of a Novitiate of English reli- 
gious of the Society of Jesus, in whatever kingdom or 
part of the world shall seem to Father Persons to be to 
the greater glory of God ; but in case that England shall 
be brought back to the faith and obedience of the Roman 
Church, my will is that the said revenue be transferred 
into that kingdom, for the foundation of a Novitiate there, 
unless it should seem better to Father Persons, for reasons 
concerning the Catholic religion, to leave the Novitiate 
outside that kingdom. 

" If the foundation of the Novitiate is delayed on 
account of the insufficiency of the sum in question, it is 
to be put out to interest, which said interest will be 
allowed to accumulate until it suffices for the purpose in 
view. If in the mean time, however, some pressing need 
in connection with the mission and conversion of England 
should occur, part of that interest may be employed for 
that end, provided that the ultimate object is never lost 
sight of. All the poor furniture of my house, its images 
and its books, I leave to the English Novitiate. I wish 
the holy crucifix I have, which belonged to my uncle, to 
be placed in the said Novitiate with particular veneration, 
as well as the particle of the wood of the true Cross which 
I carry about me, and for that purpose it will be put into 
a cross or little reliquary of gold, the same that the 
Emperor Henry III. carried about with him, which was 
given to me by the Marquis of Alma^an, Don Francis 
Hurtado de Mendoz.a." 

Dona Luisa then makes a provision for her friend 
Sister Ines of the Assumption, and begs her brother to 
understand that "if she does not remember him in the 
disposal of her fortune, it is from no want of love for' him, 
but from a strict obligation of conscience which leaves 
her no option on the subject, and that if he acquiesces 
and takes pleasure in the fact that our Lord has chosen 
her to be only His, he will share in the reward, and find 

Hosted by 


Louvain and LiSge. 477 

that spiritual blessings are not to be less esteemed than 
temporal ones." And lastly, she " asks her heirs, with 
the permission of the Superior whom she humbly and 
earnestly asks to grant it, that an image of our Lady with 
her Divine Son in her arms may be placed above the 
principal altar in the future Novitiate, and a devout mass 
with music celebrated there on each of her feasts." 

Time was not lost in carrying out the intentions of 
this pious benefactress.' In 1606 Father Persons rented 
a large house in Louvain, and in it established the first 
Novitiate of the English Province of the Society of Jesus. 
The house belonged to the Commandery of St. Nicholas 
of the Knights of Malta, and was obtained by them in 
the middle of the fourteenth century from the Duke of 
Brabant, in exchange for Kisselstein, a fortress to which 
the Knights Hospitallers had succeeded on the suppression 
of the Templars. The Commandery took possession 
about the year 1330 of the house and chapel which were 
built in 1 140. The Church was built in 1457, and from 
the Patron Saint of the Order of Malta it was called 
St. John's, though it was dedicated to St Gregory the 
Apostle of England and other saints. 

St, John's at Louvain was in a magnificent position 
on Mont Cesar. Some portion of the house still remains, 
though the Church was entirely swept away in 1799. The 
hill on which it stood, took its name from the neighbouring 
Chateau Cesar,^ the Castle which, dating from the be- 
ginning of the eleventh century, when it was built by 
Lambert I., Count of Louvain, took its imperial title from 
Charles V., who restored it in 1511. In it Edward III. 
of England and his Queen Philippa of Hainault spent the 
winter of 1338, and Albert and Isabella the Archdukes 
visited it in 1617 on their return from their annual pil- 

' Father More, Hist. Prov. lib. vifi. n. 8, p.' 355. 

' For our information respecting Louvain we have drawn largely on the 
fine work Leta/ain Monummial, by M. Van Even, archivist of the town. 

Hosted by 


478 Life of Father John Gerard. 

grimage to Our Lady of Montaigu. Charles V, came to 
live there first in 1504, when Adrien Flourens of Utrecht, 
then professor of Theology in the University of Louvain, 
afterwards Pope Adrian VI., was his tutor. 

The Church of the Knights of St. John on Mont C^sar 
was a large one, and is the most prominent object in 
the foreground of the print of Louvain engraved by 
Juste Lipse in 1605.' It had a large nave, lighted by 
eight windows, and over the western door was a lofty 
tower, surmounted by a wooden spire. It was almost at 
the northernmost point within the walls of the town, on 
the left hand after entering the Porte de Malines, and this 
tower was visible half a league from Malines, as that of 
St. Rombaut can be seen half a league from Louvain. In 
the Church there was a wooden statue of St John the 
Evangelist weeping at the foot of the Cross, called St. Jean 
le pleureur or St. Jan de Gryser, which was held in great 
veneration, and to it women brought crying children on 
pilgrimage. A trace of the forgotten dedication to St. 
Gregory was to be found in a children's fair which on 
the feast of that Saint was held on the grass before the 
Church doors. The house was close to the ramparts, and 
Father More who lived there with Father Gerard, could 
hardly help noting that from the high ground where it 
stood there was a grand view of the whole city. Below 
was a walled garden, and on the slope of the hill there 
were pleasant walks among the vines which were ranged 
in terraces ; and the whole, though within the protection 
of the walls of a town, was as quiet and calm as befitted 
a house of prayer. 

The Novitiate commenced at St. John's in February 

■ Lmjanium, Antverpiic rx o0dna Plsntittiana, 1610, 40. ed. 2a. It has 
not been thought necessary to give a list of names corresponding with the 
numbers and letters on the print. Il will be enough lo say (hat 11 !s the 
Porle de Malines, 12 the Chlteau Cesar, and 13 St. John's. The buildings 
adjoining the church on the reader's left, with two arches emending across the 
road, are still ir —■-' 

Hosted by 


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Hosted by 


Hosted by 


Louvain and LiSge. 479 

1607 with six priests, two scholastics and five lay-brothers 
as Novices under Father Thomas Talbot as their Novice 
Master. The first Novice of the new house was Father 
Thomas Garnet, the nephew of the martyred Provincial, 
who was himself martyred at Tyburn on the 23rd of June, 
1608. He had been consequently but a few months in the 
midst of the exercises of the Noviceship, but he had been 
admitted into the Society by his uncle on the 29th of 
September, 1604,' and his virtue had been exercised amid 
the severer trials of the Tower of London. His vows were 
made at Louvain on the 2nd of July, 1607, and he was 
again in prison in England before the year was out. A 
miraculous cure granted at his intercession is related by 
Father John Gerard in the letter, written from Louvain on 
the 17th of August, 1612, a long extract from which 
concerning Mrs. Vaux has already been given.2 

In 1614, St John's, in addition to its novices, received 
Jesuit scholastics who were students in philosophy and 
theology. A house in the garden was then fitted up for 
the Novitiate, and Father Henry Eedingfeld, better known 
by the name of Silisdon, was installed at St John's as 
Rector of the new house of studies. This arrangement 
did not last long, for at the end of this year the Novitiate 
was transferred t;o Liege and Father Gerard was made 
Rector and Master of Novices. In 1622 the Novitiate was 
once more transferred, and it then settled down at Watten 
where it remained up to the time of the expulsion of the 
Society from France in October, 1762, and for the short 
time that remained before the suppression, the Novitiate 
with the school of little boys which had been opened at 
Watten, was known as the Petit College at Bruges. When 
the Novitiate was removed from Li^ge to Watten, the 
former house, of which Father Gerard may be regarded 
as the founder, became the Theologate ; and St. John's 
at Louvain which had done the English Fathers of the 
' Jiaerdi, vol ii. p. 479. ' Su/ra, p. 447. 

Hosted by 


■ 480 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Society such friendly service, was let by the Knights of 
Malta to the Irish Dominicans from 1626 to 1650. The 
College of Liege continued to be the house of studies 
of the English Province from the year 1622 to the suppres- 
sion of the Society. In accordance with the terras of the 
Brief of suppression the fathers were permitted by the 
Prince Bishop of Liege to continue to live there together, a 
secular priest being in the first instance appointed their 
Superior: and thither the ancient College of St. Omers, 
which had been for nine years known as the Grand ColUge 
at Bruges, was transferred. Finally Liege was left for 
Stonyhurst in consequence of the perils of the French 
Revolution, in i;92, and in both places, before the 
restoration of the Society, the College was known as "the 
Academy" and its community as "the gentlemen of the 
Academy." The Scholasticate, which as we have seen 
began at St. John's Louvain under Father Henry Silisdon 
in 1614, and was removed to Li^ge in 1622, was re- 
established at the Seminary, under the wing of Stonyhurst 
College in 1830, and in 1848 the theological studies found 
their present home in St. Beunos College near St. Asaph. 
The Novitiate, Luisa de Carvajal's especial care, began on 
the re-commencement of the Society in England in 1803, at 
Hodder Place near Stonyhurst, whence it was removed In 
1854 to Beaumont Lodge near Windsor, and again, in 1861 
to Manresa House, Roehampton. Hodder Place became a 
school for little boys in preparation for Stonyhurst College, 
as Watten was to St. Omers, and the Petit College to 
the Grand College at Bruges. Those who are inter- 
ested in the existing houses cannot fail to be interested 
also in the men and places that gave them their begin- 

The establishment of the house at Li^ge, from which 
men of the last generation came to England, was the work 
of Father John Gerard. " He built it from the foundations 
in a beautiful form by alms collected from all quarters," says 

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Louvain and Li^ge. 481 

Father Nathaniel Southwe!l.r No less than thirty letters 
have come down to us written by Father Gerard in the 
year 1614, addressed to the Prefect of the English Mission, 
Father Thomas Owen, Rector of the English College at 
Rome. They treat chiefly of the purchase of the new- 
house at Li^ge and of the transfer of the Novitiate to that 
city. Some extracts relating to Father Gerard himself 
will be found interesting. Of these letters some are signed 
John Nelson, and others John Tomson, In the later years 
of his life he seems to have been known chiefly by the 
name of Tomson, though the last name by which he was 
disguised was Thomas Roberts. At various times in his 
life he was called by the names of Starkie, Standish, 
Tanfield, Staunton, Lee, Brooke, Harrison, Nelson, Tomson, 
and Roberts. 

The choice of Liege as a residence seems to have been 
mainly owing to the disquiet caused to the Catholics in 
the Low Countries by the remonstrances of the English 
Government. We have some specimens of it in the follow- 
ing extracts, in which we find Father Gerard true to the 
natural fearlessness of his character. " Concerning^ my 
wariness in avoiding the eyes of spies, I have been all this 
year [1614] more sparing in that kind than divers friends 
here did think needful, although some one or two did 
think it dangerous to go any journey, as doubting I might 
be killed by the way ; but this was but according to their 
accustomed fears with which I have been long acquainted. 
But indeed. Father, I am so far from desire to go many 
journeys, that it is a pain to me to think of going any 
whither : and the reason why I never went to any of those 
places your Reverence mentioneth in this year past (but 
only the last Lent to Mechlin for Mr. Rouse) was not that 
I thought it dangerous {being known so well to live here 
public that it cannot be unknown to any spies), nor for 

' Stonjrhurst MSS., Caialegus frimorum fatmm, p, ja. 
' Stonyhuist MSS., Artgl, A, vol. It. n. 5. 

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482 Life of Father John Gerard. 

that I wanted leave, for I had the other Provincial's 
particular and willing grant, without my own asking, to 
go to any place of these countries ; but it was because 
I had rather be at home, and in the town of Louvain 
itself I go not abroad half so much as I think were needful 
for the contentment of others. I was not at the Teresians, 
where the Mother of the house (to whom I gave the 
Exercise four years ago) and Father Scott's' sister do 
much desire my often coming, any more than once since 
the last Lent. At the Monastery of St Monica's, my 
cousin Shirley hath requested my coming thither for these 
three or four months, to bestow one afternoon upon her 
and some younger nuns whom she hath charge of, that 
they may all together ask me what spiritual questions they 
may like best, and I have never yet found a fit time for it. 
The gentlemen in the town 2 I doubt I visit not once in 
a quarter of a year, and I have some reason to think that 
either they think me careless of them, or afraid to be seen 
abroad, as though my case were very dangerous, which 
would also make them or any other that should come to 
town more fearful to come into my company, and conse- 
quently hinder the little good that I might do with them. 
But I hope I shall be as wary as your Reverence wisheth, 
and if this course go forwards of being Rector without 
the name of Rector, there will be less inconvenience, 
whosoever see me seeing me still as a private man." In 
this he alludes to a plan of his own, that Father Blackfan 
should have the title of Rector, although he was himself 
appointed to the Rectorship of the Novitiate. 

■ This is Fattier Thomas Laithwaite. More, Hist. Prcv. lib ix n i 
p. 391 ; mfra, p. 386. ■ ■ ■ . 

' In 1617 Sir Tiiomas Leeds was Prefect and Sit Ralph Babthorpe 
Secrelaiy of (he Congregation of the Blessed Virgin at Louvain. Stonyhurst 
MSS., A»s!. A. vol. iv. n. 47. A considerable number of Catholic fnmilies 
had settled in Louvain, and in 1614 they were disturbed by a 
appear in England under pain of losing their possessions. On a ..,.. 

being made by the Spanish Ambassador, King James disclaimed the s 

on which the magisliales of Louvain expelled Ihe pureuivant from the tc 
More, Hist. Prm. lib, ]x. a. 10, p. 406. 

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Louvain and LUge. a%-i 

The next letteri is dated April 6, 1614. "I have yours 
of the 15th of March,, and see in that, as in all of yours, 
your fatherly care of me, which by the grace of God I 
will labour to deserve. I am well satisfied with Father 
General's order, and shall endeavour to get this building 
finished for the Novitiate [in the garden at St John's] as 
soon as I can, and then will settle to my book as much 
as my health and letters will permit. . . . Having writ 
thus far, I was called to go to Brussels with Father Rector 
(by Father Blacfan's and Father Percy his advice) to 
speak with the Duke's^ Secretary, who telling Father 
Percy the last week that the Agent [of King James] did 
solicit against me, and that he could not well answer him 
unless he delivered him some reasons in writing for my 
innocency, this writing was promised him by Father 
Percy; but I being loth to have any such writing sen^ 
as thinking it the likeliest means to raise a new persecu- 
tion against me, though for the Secretary's satisfaction we 
drew and delivered him a brief note of four or five effectual 
proofs, yet both to the Secretary first, and afterwards to 
the Nuncio, I told this day that if any such writing were 
sent, it would do me great harm, for Canterbury [Arch- 
bishop Abbot], having such a writing, would doubtless 
show it at the Council table, and then those lords who 
do know me to be innocent and wish me well, will be as 
it were forced to speak against me, lest they should seem 
to favour me, and so the King should be more incensed. 
The Nuncio did promise Father Rector and me that he 
would deal seriously both with the Secretary and the 
Prince himself in the cause." 

Writings under the date of April iS, 16 14, he shows 
that he thinks that too much importance had been given 
to the Agent's interference. " I think your Reverence 

' Stonyhurst MSS,, Angl. A. vol. iv, n. 6. 

' The Archduke Albert, Governor of Flanders. 

3 Slonjhuisl MSS., Angl. A. vol. iv. d. 7. 

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484 Life of Father John Gerard. 

■was made to believe by letters sent about Easter, that 
there was some new troubles against me here, out of 
England, and consequently that there was need of such 
information to the Nuncio and Father Provincial as had 
been given. But when I heard of it, I said it was nothing- 
but Trumbol his own device, in hope to work upon the 
weakness of the Prince ; and so now it proves, for on my 
going to the Secretary himself with our Father Rector, 
as I wrote from Brussels, and giving him a paper of some 
few points for my innocency, with the request he would 
not deliver it but show it if he would to the Agent, the 
Secretary answered he would advertise me if it were 
needful; but since the note was showed unto Trumbol, 
and he showed to be satisfied with it, and afterwards 
meeting the Secretary told him that he took it to be 
only matter of religion, but that being now made matter 
of State, he, being a servant employed in matter of State, 
could not but seek to concur with them that employed 
him, — as it were granting that himself was satisfied, and 
yielding a reason why he had moved the matter. And 
this being understood both by the Prince and the Nuncio, 
they were very glad of it. ... I write this from Mechlin, 
whither Sir William [Stanley] was desirous to have me 
come for his comfort now and after the death and funeral 
of his lady." 

But such a man as Father Gerard was not likely to be 
left in peace in those intriguing times. In the August fol- 
lowing, Father Silisdon writes thus to Father Owen." " Even 
now I have advice that his Majesty of England hath made 
two complaints to the Prince, and that the first is against 
Father Gerard's bejng in his dominions." The consequence 
was that a transfer to another territory became desirable. 
and Father Gerard set his heart on migrating with his 
novices into the capital of the Prince Bishop of Li^ge. 
His reasons for the preference he details in a letter^ 
■ Stonyhurst MSS., Artgl. A. vol. iv. n, 17. ' Ibid. n. 22. 

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Louvain and LiSge. 485 

from that city, written under the signature of John Nelson, 
September 19, 1614. "There be many causes to be alleged 
why here, rather than in any place ; as, the commodity of 
dealing with our English in the summer, the opportunity 
of keeping our Novices unknown, the excellent seat, far 
beyond Louvain, and that bestowed upon us, the present 
helps sent for this beginning, with great likelihood of 
much more, the great favour which is to be expected 
from this Prince and his family, and is to be strengthened 
by my two cousins Sir William and Mr. Morton, and Sir 
William hath written to him that he doth much joy in 
his cousin who is there to be Rector." 

The two cousins of whom Father Gerard here speaks 
were two very powerful friends. The one was Sir William 
Stanley, who showed himself a kind friend to Father 
Gerard and his charge by negotiating the purchase money 
—at least tliat portion of it which had to be paid down 
—probably (as Father Gerard speaks of the " seat being 
bestowed upon us ") regarding it as a gift. Whatever else 
was requisite for the purchase was provided by Brother 
William Browne,' who though grandson, brother and uncle 
of Viscounts Montague,— his grandfather was Queen 
Mary's Ambassador to the Holy See— was himself con- 
tent to spend his life in the humble duties of a Jesuit 

The " Mr. Morton " was Sir George Talbot of Grafton, 
afterwards ninth Earl of Shrewsbury. He was a scholar 
of some repute,^ and an intimate friend of Maximilian, 
Duke of Bavaria. As Ferdinand, the Prince-bishop of 
Li^ge, was Maximilian's brother, it was no little help to 

■ F. More, HUl. Prav. lib. ix. n. ii, p. 406. 

' "Sir Basil Broqke telleth that our German friend Is very well at his 
house and in protection of the King, that Canterbury has used him very kindly 
and entreated him, as one whose scholarship [s famous, to make use of his 
library [as] it shall please him." Father Silisdon to Father Owen, August ac 
1614. Endorsed by Father Owen, " Sir George Talbot weU entertained by 
K. and Cant. ' Stonyhurst MSS., Aug!. A. vol iv. n. 17. 

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486 Life of Father John. Gerard. 

Father Gerard to be on cousinly terms with George Talbot. 
Duke Maximilian became a generous benefactor to the 
new house at Li^ge. -In 1618 he sent Father Gerard, 
through Sir George Talbot, 5,000 florins for the novice- 
ship.' In a letter dated the 25th of January, \(no, the 
Duke writes to Father Gerard, who had promised to pray 
that he might have a son, — '"I bound myself once by 
vow to your blessed Ignatius, that if he would obtain 
this favour for me, I would give my son the name of 
Ignatius, and would build and endow a College of the 
Society wherever Father General might judge it most 
useful. What if God should purpose thus to provide for 
you? "2 In July of the same year he wrote, "We have 
sent you a contribution of 1,300 German florins by Father 
Mayer for a tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament, and 
for a niche for an image of the Blessed Virgin." Even 
after Father Gerard's departure from the house, Duke 
Maximilian's liberality to it did not fail. Father Henry 
Bedingfeld alias Silisdon, Father Gerard's successor as 
Master of Novices, removed the Novitiate from Liege to 
Watten^ in 1624, and not long after, the Duke settled a 
permanent endowment upon the English College of Li^ge,* 
when the scholastics were brought from St. John's at 
Louvain to the house that Father Gerard had estab- 
lished ten years before. 

That house, which Father Gerard called " the excellent 
seat far beyond Louvain," was Uke that of Louvain in 

' Father More, Hiit. Prev. lib. ix. n. 15, p. 414. 

' Ibid. pp. 415, 424. Maximilian hnd iwo sons by his second wife, Maiy 
Anne of Austria, when he was over 60 years of age, and the eldest he named 

3 The Prioiy of Walten, with its revenue of 3,000 florins of Brabant, was 
transferred to the Society in :6ll by James Blase, O.S.F., Bishop of St.Oraers. 
The proposal had been approved by the King of Spain in 1604 and by Pope 
Paul V, in 1607, but (he jealousy of the English felt by the Archduke Albert 
delayed the establishment of an English Novitiate there till after his death 
ID 162a. More, hill. Prev. lib. vii. nn. 5- 7 ; pp. 294— 29S, 416. 

* A nole lo a manuscript Calalcgue of 1635 tells us that the College had 
fluids for the support of 44 inmates. 

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Louvain and Liige, 487 

this respect, that it was situated close to the ramparts 
on high ground commanding a fine view of the city. It 
was situated ' on Mont S. Martin, close to the Citadel, and 
it had ten acres of ground attached to it, which were laid 
out in terraces up to the city walls. St. John's was only 
a rented house, but that at Liege was purchased. Its 
price was less than " 300/. in present money and the rent 
of 30/. with which the house and grounds are already 
charged, which then we may redeem by little and little, 
as we get friends to buy it out."^ As the rentcharge 
could be redeemed at fifteen years purchase, the whole 
price was thus under 650/. 

Here Father Gerard was Rector and Master of Novices 
for eight years.3 His Socius or " Compagnion," as he 
calls him, was Father Henry More, subsequently the His- 
torian of the Province, who thus fulfilled under Father 
. Gerard those duties in the Noviceship that Father Gerard ■ 
had performed at Louvain under Father Talbot. When 
discussing, before, his appointment, those fathers who 
were fitted for that office, after mentioning others. Father 
Gerard says,'' " Father Nicholson is far short of either of 
them for my turn, for he is no good Latinist,.! think 
little better than myself, though he be much better 
scholar ; neither hath he any other language but Spanish, 
of which I shall have small use. Father Henry More 
hath French well, Dutch prettily, and Italian sufficiently, 
besides Spanish very well, and Latin as I could wish 

' The English College may be dislinguished, b the accompanying view of • 
ancient Liige, as the large building, the tower of which (surmounted by a 
short spire and a ball), comes out of a quadrangle, at the right hand comer of 
which, and below the front, are long flights of steps. The city wail, descending 
from the citadel, will be seen to be not lar behind the building. Three sides 
of the square of buildings still ej;isl, and are used for military stores, but it is 
said that they are doomed to speedy deslruclion. 

" SlonyhufSt MSS., Angl. A. vol. iv. n. 23. 

s Father Nathaniel Southwell, Caiahgus pHmorum paintm, p. 33. 

" Stonyhurst MSS., An^l. A. vol, iv. n. 20. 

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488 Life of Father John Gerard. 

As to his first Novices, there were twelve, which made 
what he styled "a pretty beginning;" but his Community 
soon increased in numbers, for in 1617 Father More' 
says there were 45 in the College at Liege, of whom 30 
were Novices. Of the first twelve he said^ that they 
were "the two that expect at Liege, the two that are 
come from Rome, and four out of Spain, with Mr. Lewkner 
and Mr. Whitmore, besides Grafton, when he comes, and 
a tailor now servant in this house, who by all judgments 
here is as fit to be received, as brother Silvester, the young 
tailor now in the Noviceship, is fit to be dismissed." 

Of the " two that expect at Liege," a previous letter^ 
had said, "Here be Mr. Mansel and Mr. Owen Shelley, 
by the names of Mr. Griffin and Mr. Tichborne ; both 
expect, the first with some lothness to stay long, the 
second is wholly resigned. The first is a pious man, and 
to those that know his fashion will be profitable for 
some uses in the Society, but the second will be practical 
and fit for any thing, and in truth I think he will do veiy 
well." This Father Owen Shelley was afterwards Rector 
of the College of Liege, and his career justified Father 
Gerard's judgment of his character. 

Amongst the "four which are come out of Spain" 
were two that must have constantly served to remind 
their Rector at Li^ge of the Gunpowder Plot, as the 
remonstrances of King James" Agent had managed to 
do at Louvain. "One of them," he says,"* "is akin to 
Father Garnet, and of his name, though we call him 
Gilford, as he was called at St. Omers. [The other is] 
William EIIis,S but we call him John Williams, for he 
was page to Sir Edward Digby, and taken with him, 

■ Hist, Prcni. p. 424. 

° Stonyhurst MSS., Angl. A. voL iv. n. 29. 

! Examinaiion of William Ellis, servant lo Sir Everard Digby. taken 
November Ji, 1605. P.R.O., Gunpauider Plot Book, n. 108. 

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Louvain and Liige, 489 

though he might have escaped, for his master offered 
him horse and money to shift for himself, but the youth 
said he would live and die with him ; and so, being 
taken, was condemned at Stafford, and should have been 
executed. He was offered to have his life if he would 
go to their church, which he refused. In the end they 
saved him and some others. He never [yielded] in the 
least point. He hath good friends near Sir Everard 
Digby's whom I know, and he is heir to 80/. a year, if . 
his father do him right." 

At the close of this short notice of Father Gerard's 
Rectorship it will be but right to record an unfavourable 
judgment passed upon him, as it will help us to form a 
true appreciation of his character. It is the only instance 
that has come down to us of blame on the part of one 
of his own brothers in Religion. " I see a general fear in 
all ours, those of best judgment, of the success of Father 
Nelson's government, and unless he hath a companion 
that may moderate him, his zeal will, I fear, carry him 
too far; and I fear it so much the more because I see 
him loth to have anybody with him who is likely to 
propose anything to him contrary to his own zealous 
desires." This is in a confidential letter' from Father 
Silisdon to Father Owen, dated October 31, 1614, so that 
as it was written before the transfer to Liege, it was a 
misgiving lest he should be indiscreet as a Rector, rather 
than a judgment on his actual conduct as a Superior, 
As he was left in office for eight years, and as, aftw 
that, he was placed in another position of great responsi- 
bility for four years more, we may be sure that the 
misgiving was not verified by the event. 

Father Gerard's eight years of Rectorship at Li^e 
were between 1614 and 1622. At the end of that time he 
was removed from Li^ge to Rome because his Superiors 
■ Stonyhurst MSS., Angl. A. vol. iv. n. 31. 

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49° Life of Father John Gerard. 

wished him no longer to give an active support to a new 
Institute of Religious women in the rise of which he had 
taken much interest Their foundress was Mary Ward, 
a very remarltable person, whose life is now in process of 
publication,! so that in this place it will be enough to refer 
to the forthcoming work for the interesting details of her 
biography and for the vicissitudes of the Institute founded 
by her. The Convent of her nuns at LicSgc was opened 
in I6l6, while Father Gerard was Rector of the English 
Jesuit College, and the first house occupied by them 
must have been very close to the College on Mont 
S. Martin. In 1618 they removed to a good house on 
the height of Pierreose, like their former house not far 
from the Citadel, in the possession of which, in 1642, 
they were succeeded by the English Canonesses of the 
Holy Sepulchre.^ 

One letter remains in existence which was written by 
Maty Ward to "Rev. Father Tomson alias Jhon Caret 
[John Gerard]." It is dated in the year 1619, and relates 
to a time when she was making a retreat under Father 
Gerard's direction. It is an interesting letter, but as it 
will appear in Mary Ward's life, with the narrative of the 
circumstances that called it forth, it is omitted here. 

It has been said that it was to withdraw Father 
Gerard entirely from all connection with Mary Ward 
and her Institute that he was called to Rome. By the 
help of a money transaction in which he was concerned 
with them and the mention in the same affair of his 
successor as Rector, we are able to approximate to the 
date of his departure from Liige. Among the St. Omeis' 

../J°,"; """' "■">■ ''""''' '""' " '•"« P'WisM ""fcr lie till, of 
_ A Yorkshire Lady. It is announcwl ihal these chapters will be republished 
in a separate form. " 

cl ™' "^ur" ;"? •""'I'™'' " "'5 10 Ihe house tailed the Mal,o« des 
Coquins or H6p.t>l de Si. Chrislophe in the la.bonrg d'Avrov. At the 
Preneh Re.ohllon Ih, Canonesses ot the Hoi, Sepolchte ,„e oblfged to le." 
Liege, and the, settled at New Hall, near Chelnulbrd, to Essci in iMo 

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Louvain and LiSge. 491 

papers at Brussels there is one which says that there was a 
mortgage of 3,000 florins on some houses belonging to the 
Society at Liege made by Father John Gerard, as security 
for money raised by Mary Ward. Father Blount, the 
Vice Provincial, at once transferred the houses to Thomas 
Sackville, who was jointly responsible with the Nuns 
for the debt, and this deed is dated April 26, 1621 ; and 
four days aftenvards Father Gerard declared the houses to 
be their property. By a deed dated March 10, 1622, 
Thomas Sackville conveyed the houses to Dame Barbara 
Babthorpe the Superioress, and as this deed mentions 
Father Henry Silisdon as then Rector, we see that by that 
date' Father Gerard had ceased to be Rector, and prob- 
ably had already left Liege for Rome. 

But Father Gerard carried his sympathy for Mary 
Ward and her Institute with him, as some letters^ of his 
witness which are preserved in the Convent of the 
" English Ladies " of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary at Nymphenburg in Bavaria. One of them is ad- 
dressed to a nephew of his old friend Father Roger Lee, 
Henry Lee, who was a secular priest, acting as Chaplain 
to Mary Ward and her " Company " at Munich. In it he 
says with St Raphael that God particularly tries those 
whom He especially loves ; and then adds, " This I have 
always seen to be their case, and though I have kept 
silence to them, as it was needful I should, and must still 
continue to do so, yet I have pleaded their cause where 
only I can avail them, that is with Him Who is best able 
to help them, and Who will not despise the humble and 
earnest prayers, though of His unworthy servants. To 

■ This accords wilh the Fiona Anglo-Bavarian, p. ii, and correcis Dr. 
Oliver's slalemenl that Father Silisdon succeeded Father Gerard as Rector 
and Master of Novices in 1620 and transferred the Novitiate to Watten in 
1622. The error arose from a misunderstanding of Father More, Hist. Prim, 
p. 416. The transfer to Watten look place in 1614. Vide supr. p. 486, 

' These letters have been copied by the kind permission of Madaiae Mary 
Paur, the General Superioress of the Inslimte. 

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492 Life of Father John Gerard. 

Him I have, and do, and will continue to offer my poor 
and instant petitions many times every day, and no day 
but they have a chief part in my masses, and many times 
the whole when I have not other obligations. Other helps 
I cannot afford, either in spiritual or corporal assistance, 
my hands being tied. Thus much for my opinion of their 
patience and my good wishes to their persons, not to be 
altered but by their altering from God's service, which I 
am confident never will be." This letter is dated from 
Ghent, or " Gant " as the English called it then, where 
he wrote it on the 8th of March 1627. Father Gerard 
when he wrote this letter was looking forward to the 
confirmation of their Institute, though not " in this Pope's 
time ; " and he tells them to be "very wary not to speak of 
any great differences which have been between them and 
our English Fathers, for besides that charity requires it, 
with most hath been but mistakings, and such things as we 
read to have happened among the saints." This was 
written in the absence of the Superior but by his leave • 
and there are details respecting Father Gerard's position 
at Ghent which will be useful to us in our next chapter. 

There is another letter from him written after he had 
again returned to Rome, dated the 13th of August 1628, 
and addressed "To the Reverend Mother Mrs. Winifred 
Campion, Vice-rectrice of their Collie in Monachium, at 
Monachium " [Munich]. In this letter he speaks of Mary 
Ward as at Rome ; for after asking some questions of the 
number of their novices and scholars, he says, " These 
things if you mention in any letter to Mother Superior 
here, it will be as much as I can wish, and with less trouble 
to yourself. I hope those grand crosses which God did 
permit to be raised against you by those complaining 
letters which were written against you, will by God's provi- 
dence be allayed. Who will be sure to turn all such things 
to the good of His servants, dans nivem sicut lanam, and 
make it keep warm the roots of corn and to bring forth a 

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Louvain and LUge. 493 

greater harvest in due season." Father Gerard mentions 
among those " who be of my acquaintance my very good 
daughter Mrs. Francis i Brooksbie and Mrs. Bedingfeld, 
which two are indeed very dear to me in our Lord Jesus, 
and I hope they will be very profitable in your company." 
And he bids his correspondent " remember my service to 
the Reverend Mr. Dr. Ansloe," their chaplain, whom he 
had mentioned in the former letter also. 

Besides these, in the Convent at Nymphenbuig 
there is a very long letter which exists in German 
only, without a signature, dated the 6th of October 162^ 
written in like terms of warm friendship. This letter 
has no passages of historical interest. It is endorsed in 
German, "We have the strongest reasons to believe that 
this letter was written in the English language by Father 
John Tomson (Gerard). It has been translated into 
German — is to be kept in secret and not shown to many." 

' The feminine form Frances is modern. 

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1623 TO 1637. 

During his residence at Liege, amongst Father Gerard's 
correspondents were two Venerable Servants of God, 
Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, and Father Luis de la Puente, 
better known by the Latinized form of his name, de Ponte. 
As by a man's friends we can obtain an insight into his 
character, we have thought it desirable to give the few 
letters to Father Gerard from these two holy men that 
have come down to us. Cardinal Bellarmine's autograph^ 
is preserved at Stonyhurst. We translate the letter from 
the original Latin. ' 

" Very Reverend and beloved Father in Christ,— I have 
received your Reverence's letter dated from Li"^ge the 23rd 
of November with the iittle presents inclosed in it, an 
English knife, a little case (either bone or ivory, I do not 
know which), and three small toothpicks. I do not know 
whether these were sent me for use, or as having some 
special meaning. Whichever it be, they are welcome as a 
proof of friendship and brotherhood. 

"The memory of that excellent Mr. Oliver [Sir Oliver 
Manners, whom he had ordained seven years before], has 
brought me no little sadness or rather grief, not on his 
account who Is translated from this world to the joys of 
Paradise, but for the sake of many whom without doubt 
he would have converted to a good life if Divine Provi- 
■ Stonyhurst MSS., Augl. A. vol. JiL n. 107. 

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Ghent and Rome. 495 

dence had permitted him to live a while longer. But the 
good pleasure of God must ever be fulfilled, and the 
self-same, in order that it may be fulfilled, must ever be 
pleasing to us under all circumstances. 

" I was pleased to read what your Reverence relates in 
your letter of your journeys, of your office of Master of 
Novices, of the building which you have bought at Liege, 
of the visitation of his Serene Highness Ferdinand, the 
Prince Bishop of Liege, and of the promise that the Priory 
[of Watten], on its next vacancy, shall be applied to the 
College. If my assistance in carrying this out can be of 
any use to you with the Pope, it shall not be wanting. 

" Of Dr. Singleton I have heard much, and have 
defended him to the best of my power as long as I could, 
but the party opposed to him has prevailed. Nor do I 
see how I can help him at so great a distance, and 
especially as I should be suspected because I am a Jesuit 
The devil is envious of the harmony between the English 
at Douay and the Fathers of the Society, for which the 
good Cardinal Allen cared so much; but all means must 
be tried to re-establish a true and sincere friendship 
and agreement in teaching; otherwise a kingdom divided 
against itself shall be brought to desolation. For many 
reasons I say freely that nothing can be done by me in 
his behalf; first, as I was just saying, because I should 
be under suspicion, being a Jesuit. Then, because I am 
an old man of seven-and -seventy years of age, and I daily- 
expect the dissolution of my tabernacle. Thirdly, because 
I cannot think of any way by which I could help him. 
The common manner of helping men of this sort is to 
give them ecclesiastical benefices ; but here in Rome the 
multitude of those who aspire to and seek after such 
benefits is so great that their number is almost infinite. 
Nor are they only Italians, but Spaniards also. Frenchmen, 
Germans, who look for nothing but benefices at Rome, 
I myself, who was thought to have some influence with 

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49^ Life of Father John Gerard. 

the Pope, have laboured for more than ten years for a 
Spaniard, an excellent man and a great friend of mine, to 
obtain for him a good benefice falling vacant in his own 
country. I could say the same of Flemish and German 
friends of mine. What then would be the case with 
English people, in whose country there are no ecclesi- 
astical benefices for Catholics .' But, since these temporal 
things are nothing when compared to eternal benefices, 
our friend Dr. Singleton must not be cast down if our 
Lord treats him now, as of old He treated His Apostles, 
who He willed should enter into the Kingdom of Heaven 
through many tribulations. But I must not be too lengthy, 
for I know that both he and your Reverence stand in no 
need of my exhortations, I know that your Reverence 
will have hard work to read my bad writing, but Father 
Coffin r would have it that I should write to you with my 
own hand. 

"With this I bid your Reverence farewell. Commend 
me to the prayers of Dr. Singleton, and of all your College; 
but your Reverence's self especially, for our old friendship 
and brotherhood, must diligently commend me to the Lord 
our God. From Rome on Christmas-day, December 25 

"Your Reverence's brother and servant in Christ, 
" Robert Card. Bellarmine. 
"To the Very Reverend Father John Tomson, S.J., 

" Rector of the College of the English Novices at Liege." 

The two letters which have come down to us, addressed 
to Father Gerard by the Venerable Father Luis de la 
Puente, were written as his residence at Li^ge was drawing 

■ Father Edward Coffin was Confessor of the English College for nearly 
twenty years, in which office he was succeeded by Father Gerard. 

' Dr. Oliver has misread this date i6i I, which was before Father Gerard 
went to Liege and at which time Sir Oliver Manners was in Italy. Cardinal 
Bellannine was bom October 4, 1542, so that he was in his seventy-seventh. 
year in 1618-9, 

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Ghent and Rome.